Sampling – the process of collecting, preparing, and introducing an appropriate volume element (voxel) into a system – is often underappreciated and pushed behind the scenes in lab-on-a-chip research. What often stands in the way between proof-of-principle demonstrations of potentially exciting technology and its broader dissemination and actual use, however, is the effectiveness of sample collection and preparation. The power of micro- and nanofluidics to improve reactions, sensing, separation, and cell culture cannot be accessed if sampling is not equally efficient and reliable. This perspective will highlight recent successes as well as assess current challenges and opportunities in this area.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Lab on a Chip: Insights Issue