Analyst, 2016, Advance Article
In recent years, significant progress has been made into the label-free detection and discrimination of individual cancer cells using Laser Tweezers Raman Spectroscopy (LTRS). However, the majority of examples reported have involved manual trapping of cells, which is time consuming and may lead to different cell lines being analysed in discrete batches. A simple, low-cost microfluidic flow chamber is introduced which allows single cells to be optically trapped and analysed in an automated fashion, greatly reducing the level of operator input required. Two implementations of the flow chamber are discussed here; a basic single-channel device in which the fluid velocity is controlled manually, and a dual-channel device which permits the automated capture and analysis of multiple cell lines with no operator input. Results are presented for the discrimination of live epithelial prostate cells and lymphocytes, together with a consideration of the consequences of traditional ‘batch analysis’ typically used for LTRS of live cells.