TOTAL ANALYSIS SYSTEMS, CULTURE ARRAY, POLYETHYLENE-GLYCOL
ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY
An overview of the use of physically modified microfluidic channels towards cell research is presented. The physical modification can be realized either by combining embedded physical micro/nanostructures or a topographically patterned substrate at the micro- or nanoscale inside a channel. After a brief description of the background and the importance of the physically modified microfluidic system, various fabrication methods are described based on the materials and geometries of physical structures and channels. Of many operational principles for microfluidics (electrical, magnetic, optical, mechanical, and so on), this review primarily focuses on mechanical operation principles aided by structural modification of the channels. The mechanical forces are classified into (i) hydrodynamic, (ii) gravitational, (iii) capillary, (iv) wetting, and (v) adhesion forces. Throughout this review, we will specify examples where necessary and provide trends and future directions in the field.