Single-cell techniques have a long history of unveiling fundamental paradigms in biology. Recent improvements in the throughput, resolution, and availability of microfluidics, computational power, and genetically encoded fluorescence have led to a modern renaissance in microbial physiology. This resurgence in research activity has offered new perspectives on physiological processes such as growth, cell cycle, and cell size of model organisms such as . We expect these single-cell techniques, coupled with the molecular revolution of biology's recent half-century, to continue illuminating unforeseen processes and patterns in microorganisms, the bedrock of biological science. In this article we review major open questions in single-cell physiology, provide a brief introduction to the techniques for scientists of diverse backgrounds, and highlight some pervasive issues and their solutions.


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