The experimental microfluidic platform (Omega-Machine) in PACE is based on a hybrid microfluidic chip containing a silicon substrate with integrated gold electrodes and a micromoulded fluidic layer, which consists of a network of channels and microreactor compartments. We incorporated in our microfluidic-technology electroosmotic flow (EOF) in addition to electrophoresis and showed its feasibility in concentrating DNA as well as controlling flows. This has enabled us to develop a general digital field programmable control of microsystems, which we shall refer to as a Chemical Microprocessor - ChµP.
An adapter frame allows controlled temperature-gradients on-chip as well as two different types of ChµPs. (for design and development, see also the section "Microsystem Design and development"). The setup was optimized for high magnification objectives which limits allowed working-distances. A small PCB with a connector provides control of the Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) and/or the electrodes on the FPFA. The adapter is modular and allows the mounting inside a 80 x 80 cm² cartridge for standard z-stage devices as well as in an optical slide and a special minimum-size cartridge. The thermal capacity of the carrier is minimized and supports a quick temperature cycling and cooling to relatively low temperatures. Two temperature-sensors are integrated into the carrier, additional ones can be attached.