Creation of artificial cell-like structures promoted by microfluidics technologies

Yusuke Sato, Masahiro Takinoue

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The creation of artificial cells is an immensely challenging task in science. Artificial cells contribute to revealing the mechanisms of biological systems and deepening our understanding of them. The progress of versatile biological research fields has clarified many biological phenomena, and various artificial cell models have been proposed in these fields. Microfluidics provides useful technologies for the study of artificial cells because it allows the fabrication of cell-like compartments, including water-in-oil emulsions and giant unilamellar vesicles. Furthermore, microfluidics also allows the mimicry of cellular functions with chip devices based on sophisticated chamber design. In this review, we describe contributions of microfluidics to the study of artificial cells. Although typical microfluidic methods are useful for the creation of artificial-cell compartments, recent methods provide further benefits, including low-cost fabrication and a reduction of the sample volume. Microfluidics also allows us to create multi-compartments, compartments with artificial organelles, and on-chip artificial cells. We discuss these topics and the future perspective of microfluidics for the study of artificial cells and molecular robotics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number216
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Artificial cells
  • Artificial molecular systems
  • Chemical communication
  • Lipid vesicle
  • Liposome
  • Microfluidics
  • Molecular robotics
  • On-chip artificial cells
  • Water-in-oil emulsion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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