In the past few years, interdisciplinary science and technologies have converged to create exciting challenges and opportunities, which involve a new generation of integrated microfabricated devices. These new devices are referred to as 'lab-on-a-chip' or Micro Total Analysis Systems. Their development involves both established and evolving technologies, which include microlithography, micromachining, Micro Electro Mechanical Systems technology, microfluidics and nanotechnology. This review summarizes the key device subject areas and the basic interdisciplinary technologies, and gives a better understanding of how these technologies can be used to provide appropriate technical solutions to fundamental problems. Important applications for this novel 'synergized' technology in chemical and biotechnological processing, in addition to the application of simulation methods in the development of microfabricated devices, will also be discussed.
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