Dr Maïwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas and Dr Helen Bridle from the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering delivered the Microworld and Microflow workshop at Bang goes the Borders science festival on 21 September.
The children taking part had the opportunity to look down the microscope to observe microfluidic devices, including channels and structures smaller than a single human hair. They could operate devices and see how mixing occurred to create beautiful patterns. Finally, they learnt how the physics of flow is different at this scale and how this can be exploited in "labs-on-a-chip".
Detection of bacteria in drinking water
The workshop was updated from 2013 when members of the Microfluidic Biotechnology group delivered the first microfluidics workshop at a Scottish science festival. The activity this year had a special emphasis on the detection of bacteria in drinking water, the main focus of Dr Bridle's work.
Children could trial the existing separation method utilising a scaled up model of "angry" pathogens as well as test out a large scale version of an alternative method using a microfluidic device. The large scale microfluidic model was made out of Lego. The workshop has been shortlisted in the Heriot-Watt Interactive Workshop competition.