Eric Salin

Professor (Retired)

B.Sc. (University of California, Berkeley, 1969)
Ph.D. (Oregon State University, 1977)
F.C.I.C. McBryde Award for Analytical Chemistry, CIC, 1989
Excellence in Research Award, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, 1989
Karasek Award for Achievements in Environmental Science, 1996

Email: Eric.Salin [at] McGill.CA
Web Page:


Research Themes:


Research Description:

The primary focus of our work now involves the development of small instruments of the type that are often called micro-Total Analytical Systems (microTAS). The concept is also often called Lab on a Chip or “microfluidics.” Microfluidic systems are of great interest to the analytical community, because they use very small amounts of reagent and sample, micro or even nanoliters. The physical size regime involves channels and other features which are microns rather than millimeters. In this regime, factors like gravity become unimportant, while viscosity and pressure become more important. Since many reactions are diffusion limited, reactions are often done 100 to 1000 times faster since distances are so short. This speed of reaction combined with the use of tiny amounts of liquids makes these exciting devices for exploration. They promise to provide minimal reagent consumption and so, minimal waste and micro costs. Devices can be mass produced, stamped out like computer chips and operated with minimal power. This means that small microTAS systems could be imbedded, perhaps in animals or humans, left at remote sites, or made available to the general public for use by non-chemists. These types of devices offer the potential to revolutionize the application of analytical chemistry.

Our work is primarily focusing on centrifugal microfluidics. Centrifugal systems don’t need separate pumps and offer enormous flexibility with respect to the liquids which can be used. Centrifugal systems can mix, sediment, transfer and do separations, to name only a few of possible operations. Our work concentrates on chemical separations and sample preparation.

We want to do the enabling research for systems that might have a major impact in the real world with target areas including the environment and biomedical applications.