Elastomer-based microfluidic devices, created by soft lithography methods, are emerging as valuable tools in a constantly expanding research field. As their complexity inevitably increases, robust design and fabrication methods become critical to ensure that all of the components are well-integrated and functional. Microfluidics offers the possibility of solving system integration issues for biochemistry, while minimizing the necessity for external control hardware. Many applications, such as enzymatic library screening in bacteria, are currently carried out as a series of multiple, labor-intensive steps. While the industrial approach to complexity has been to develop elaborate mechanical workstations, this technology comes at a price, requiring considerable expense, space and labor. For small laboratories or research institutions, this technology is simply out of reach. Devices consisting of addressable elastomeric microfluidic networks can dramatically simplify the screening process, providing an environment where reagents can be injected and compartmentalized into sub-nanoliter aliquots to create a platform for high-throughput, sensitive analysis of biological material.

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