Advancements in microfluidics for nanoparticle separation
Nanoparticles have been widely implemented for healthcare and nanoscience industrial applications. Thus, efficient and effective nanoparticle separation methods are essential for advancement in these fields. However, current technologies for separation, such as ultracentrifugation, electrophoresis, filtration, chromatography, and selective precipitation, are not continuous and require multiple preparation steps and a minimum sample volume. Microfluidics has offered a relatively simple, low-cost, and continuous particle separation approach, and has been well-established for micron-sized particle sorting. Here, we review the recent advances in nanoparticle separation using microfluidic devices, focusing on its techniques, its advantages over conventional methods, and its potential applications, as well as foreseeable challenges in the separation of synthetic nanoparticles and biological molecules, especially DNA, proteins, viruses, and exosomes.