A long-standing desire in biological and biomedical sciences is to be able to probe cellular
chemistry as biological processes are happening inside living cells. Synchrotron radiation-based Fourier
transform infrared (SR-FTIR) spectral microscopy is a label-free and nondestructive analytical
technique that can provide spatiotemporal distributions and relative abundances of biomolecules of a
specimen by their characteristic vibrational modes. Despite great progress in recent years, SR-FTIR
imaging of living biological systems remains challenging because of the demanding requirements on
environmental control and strong infrared absorption of water. To meet this challenge, microfluidic devices have emerged
as a method to control the water thickness while providing a hospitable environment to measure cellular processes and responses
over many hours or days. This paper will provide an overview of microfluidic device development for SR-FTIR
imaging of living biological systems, provide contrast between the various techniques including closed and open-channel
designs, and discuss future directions of development within this area. Even as the fundamental science and technological
demonstrations develop, other ongoing issues must be addressed; for example, choosing applications whose experimental
requirements closely match device capabilities, and developing strategies to efficiently complete the cycle of development.
These will require imagination, ingenuity and collaboration.
Keywords: FTIR, live cells, microfabrication, microfluidics, synchrotron radiation.
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