Microfabricated small-volume NMR probes consisting of electroplated planar microcoils integrated on a glass substrate with etched microfluidic channels are fabricated and tested. 1H NMR spectra are acquired at 300MHz with three different probes having observed sample volumes of respectively 30, 120, and 470nL. The achieved sensitivity enables acquisition of an 1H spectrum of 160μg sucrose in D2O, corresponding to a proof-of-concept for on-chip NMR spectroscopy. Increase of mass-sensitivity with coil diameter reduction is demonstrated experimentally for planar microcoils. Models that enable quantitative prediction of the signal-to-noise ratio and of the influence of microfluidic channel geometry on spectral resolution are presented and successfully compared to the experimental data. The main factor presently limiting sensitivity for high-resolution applications is identified as being probe-induced static magnetic field distortions. Finally, based on the presented model and measured data, future performance of planar microcoil-based microfluidic NMR probes is extrapolated and discussed. © 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.