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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2014 Feb;25:69-77. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2013.08.013. Epub 2013 Sep 27.

Microfluidics for biological measurements with single-molecule resolution.

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Biodynamic Optical Imaging Center, Peking University, Beijing, China.
Biodynamic Optical Imaging Center, Peking University, Beijing, China; College of Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, China; College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, China. Electronic address:


Single-molecule approaches in biology have been critical in studies ranging from the examination of physical properties of biological macromolecules to the extraction of genetic information from DNA. The variation intrinsic to many biological processes necessitates measurements with single-molecule resolution in order to accurately recapitulate population distributions. Microfluidic technology has proven to be useful in the facilitation and even enhancement of single-molecule studies because of the precise liquid handling, small volume manipulation, and high throughput capabilities of microfluidic devices. In this review we survey the microfluidic "toolbox" available to the single-molecule specialist and summarize some recent biological applications of single-molecule detection on chip.

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