The last few years have seen breakthroughs that will transform our ability to measure important analytes. Miniaturization of reaction volumes and confinement of analytes of interest into ultrasmall containers have greatly enhanced the sensitivity and throughput of many detection methods. Fabrication of microwell arrays and implementation of bead-based assays have been instrumental in the development of methods for measuring relevant biomolecules, with applications to both diagnostics and fundamental biological studies. In this review, we describe how microwell arrays are fabricated and utilized for measuring analytes of interest. We then discuss the fundamental concepts of digital enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using single-molecule arrays and applications of microwell arrays to ultrasensitive protein measurements. We also explore the utility of microwell arrays for nucleic acid detection and applications for single-cell studies.


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