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One emerging industry trend, according to Douglas Gurevitch, senior development engineer at the University of California, San Diego, and executive editor of the Journal of the Association for Laboratory Automation, is the move toward reliable nanoliter dispensing.

“Ultrasmall-volume liquid transfer has had a resurgence,” Gurevitch says. Microfluidic lab-on-a-chip systems work at the nanoscale, but their interfaces—not to mention traditional high throughput screening robotics—have tended to operate at the microliter level, meaning researchers still must make more material than they need, and generate more waste.see more