Microfluidics: Basic Concepts and Microchip Fabrication
Microfluidic devices are nowadays versatile platforms for analytical applications and chemical syntheses, and are frequently used for cell culturing and cell studies. What are the unique features of a microfluidic device and how do these properties support the development of novel analytical methods for investigations on the single cell level? This chapter introduces to the basic concepts and aspects of microfluidics. It gives newcomers an understanding of the special characteristics such as the laminar flow and segmented flow. Furthermore, a short overview of fabrication methods is given highlighting the most popular approaches, particularly soft lithography. Finally, various materials useful for microchip fabrication are described and discussed with a special emphasis on their applicability for cell analytical devices.