Microfluidics are generally “closed” systems inside which samples pass and to which user-to-chip interfaces are established. We have developed a scanning, non-contact technology – the microfluidic probe (MFP) − that overcomes key limitations of microfluidics by combining the concepts of microfluidics and of scanning probes.
Beneath the MFP head, liquid boundaries are formed by hydrodynamically confining a flow of processing solution replacing the solid walls of closed microchannels representing a transitioning from closed to “open” microfluidics.
The MFP provides new opportunities for handling, analyzing, and interacting with biological samples for surface and biological interface processing.
Using the MFP, we recently proposed the concept of “tissue microprocessing” to be conservative of precious tissues samples and to extract more and better quality information. We showed tumor markers can be detected with a technique called micro-immunohistochemistry.
We are now extending several concepts related to the MFP and tissue microprocessing with partners, including the Institute of Clinical Pathology of the University Hospital of Zurich. This work is supported, in part, by an EU-European Research Council's project BioProbe, and a SystemsX.ch project µFluidX.