The advent of micro-fluidics has been a boon to research in biology and medicine. Already many such devices exist in the commercial domain reducing what were a plethora of flasks, transfer processes and reactions at the macroscopic scale (even with a few micro-liters) to something that works in nano- and femto liter volumes.
We are using the relatively simpler process of soft-lithography by optimizing patterns using phot
oresist that can be exposed to UV and post-baking used for building channels, flows and growth-chambers for cells.
We have reproduced the ‘mother-machine’ for bacterial cells described first by Wang et al. from Suckjoon Jun’s lab.
We are currently testing the results and developing some image analysis tools to extract meaningful numbers from the device.
For more on Biological Microfluidics, see the review by Velve-Casquillas et al. (& Phong Tran) 2010 Nano Today.