Recent advances in microparticle separation in continuous flow are presented. It is intended for scientists in the field of separation science in biology, chemistry and microsystems engineering. Recent techniques of micron-sized particle separation within microsystems are described with emphasis on five different categories: optical, magnetic, fluidic-only, electrical and minor separation methods. Examples from the growing literature are explained with insights on separation efficiency and microengineering challenges. Current applications of the techniques are discussed. © The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2008.