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Issue 12, 2007
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Continuous flow separations in microfluidic devices

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Biochemical sample mixtures are commonly separated in batch processes, such as filtration, centrifugation, chromatography or electrophoresis. In recent years, however, many research groups have demonstrated continuous flow separation methods in microfluidic devices. Such separation methods are characterised by continuous injection, real-time monitoring, as well as continuous collection, which makes them ideal for combination with upstream and downstream applications. Importantly, in continuous flow separation the sample components are deflected from the main direction of flow, either by means of a force field (electric, magnetic, acoustic, optical etc.), or by intelligent positioning of obstacles in combination with laminar flow profiles. Sample components susceptible to deflection can be spatially separated. A large variety of methods has been reported, some of these are miniaturised versions of larger scale methods, others are only possible in microfluidic regimes. Researchers now have a diverse toolbox to choose from and it is likely that continuous flow methods will play an important role in future point-of-care or in-the-field analysis devices.

Graphical abstract: Continuous flow separations in microfluidic devices

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Aug 2007, accepted on 02 Oct 2007 and first published on 02 Nov 2007

Article type: Critical Review
DOI: 10.1039/B712784G
Lab Chip, 2007,7, 1644-1659

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    Continuous flow separations in microfluidic devices

    N. Pamme, Lab Chip, 2007, 7, 1644
    DOI: 10.1039/B712784G

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