Single-Course English 5 ECTS

LabChip: Design of Lab-on-a-chip systems

Overall Course Objectives

A Lab-on-a-chip system (LOC) is a device that integrates and down-scales one or several laboratory functions on a single micro-chip. LOCs deal with the handling of extremely small fluid volumes (microfluidics) down to sub-nano liters, and have channel dimensions in the regime from 1 millimeter to 100 nanometers.

The general goal of the course is that you will be able to analyze, and model the mode of operation of some chosen lab-on-a-chip systems with the help of simple calculations based on basic microfluidic theory. Moreover, it is the goal that you will be able to numerically model and design new lab-on-a-chip systems using COMSOL Multiphysics. The course is therefore relevant for you that would like to learn how to use COMSOLs many possibilities for modelling microfluidic systems with focus on mainly biology relevant applications.

Learning Objectives

  • Apply general theory for flow and diffusion to describe and design microfluidic systems
  • Apply numerical simulations using COMSOL multiphysics to design and model microfluidic systems
  • Apply dimensional analysis to estimate flow properties in microfluidic systems
  • Calculate how electrical forces affect the trajectories of particles moving inside microfluidic channels; this includes biological particles
  • Calculate how generated electrical fields within microfluidic systems are affected by passing dielectric particles
  • Understand how inertial forces can be used in curved microfluidic channels to sort particles
  • Apply numerical simulation methods to model time-dependent lab-on-a-chip systems, incl. systems generating droplets
  • Apply equivalent circuit models for estimation of liquid transport in lab-on-chip systems
  • Apply general microfluidic theory and numerical simulation methods to analyze the findings presented in recent lab-on-chip research papers

Course Content

Based on particularly chosen lab-on-a-chip systems (e.g. for manipulation of cells and separation of biomolecules) and numerical simulation, and with an engineering approach, you will be able to apply physical models to design new lab-on-a-chip systems. The course is not a theoretical microfluidics course, but basic theory of microfluidics, diffusion, AC electrokinetics and AC physics will be presented, so that you will be able to understand and validate the numerical results. The theoretical focus is therefore on important dimensionless numbers, simple calculations of expected flow velocities and diffusion times, order of magnitude calculations of forces etc. Most theoretical exercises are coupled with similar numerical exercises, so that you can compare your simple calculations with COMSOL’s results. You can expect to learn how to use COMSOL, with many practical exercises and “how-to” troubleshooting.

Recommended prerequisites


Teaching Method

The course consists of short lectures, and group or individual work. After 8 weeks the group work will be handed in as an individual report. The last 5 weeks are spent with project-work in groups of two to three students working on a specific lab-on-a-chip problem. Project work is handed in as a written report.



This course will give you a practical experience with methods used for the design, modeling, and use of lab-on-chip systems that can be used in many different applications. Moreover, you will get acquainted with the research activities at DTU Bionengineering involving lab-on-a-chip systems. Finally, the course will give you a good starting point for subsequent interdisciplinary M.Sc. thesis work involving lab-on-a-chip systems and their applications.

Limited number of seats

Minimum: 5, Maximum: 30.

Please be aware that this course has a minimum requirement for the number of participants needed, in order for it to be held. If these requirements are not met, then the course will not be held. Furthermore, there is a limited number of seats available. If there are too many applicants, a pool will be created for the remainder of the qualified applicants, and they will be selected at random. You will be informed 8 days before the start of the course, whether you have been allocated a spot.

See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 27665
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 35
Semester end Week 48
Days Fri 8-12

7.500,00 DKK

Please note that this course has participants limitation. Read more