A chemical analysis technique known as flow injection analysis, wherein small quantities of chemical reagents and sample are intermixed and reacted within a capillary flow system and the reaction products are detected optically, electrochemically, or by other means. A highly miniaturized version of a flow injection analysis system has been fabricated utilizing microfabrication techniques common to the microelectronics industry. The microflow system uses flow capillaries formed by etching microchannels in a silicon or glass wafer followed by bonding to another wafer, commercially available microvalves bonded directly to the microflow channels, and an optical absorption detector cell formed near the capillary outlet, with light being both delivered and collected with fiber optics. The microflow system is designed mainly for analysis of liquids and currently measures 38.times.25.times.3 mm, but can be designed for gas analysis and be substantially smaller in construction.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.