Microfluidic approaches to synchrotron radiation-based fourier transform infrared (SR-FTIR) spectral microscopy of living biosystems

Kevin Loutherback, Giovanni Birarda, Liang Chen, Hoi Ying N. Holman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-282
Number of pages10
JournalProtein and Peptide Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • FTIR
  • Live cells
  • Microfabrication
  • Microfluidics
  • Synchrotron radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry


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