Progress in Nanofluidics for Cell Biology
The need for faster and cheaper technologies to extract biological information, both at the molecular and cellular levels, has driven the trend to miniaturize laboratory techniques in the last two decades. Just as the integrated circuit revolutionized information technology, multiplexed microscale devices capable of manipulating and processing DNA, protein, and cell-based samples in nanoliters of fluid have the potential to have the same impact on biology and medicine. The majority of the devices reported to date, often referred to by the descriptor ‘‘lab-on-a-chip,” have focused on the automation of molecular biology techniques, including the amplification of nucleic acids by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
separating and sizing complex mixtures of DNA or protein samples,
and performing molecular hybridization assays.