, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 907-914

Advanced microfluidic droplet manipulation based on piezoelectric actuation

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Abstract

As droplet-based microfluidic devices evolve, the demand for simple-to-fabricate droplet manipulation modules increases. Of these modules, droplet sorting has drawn much attention due to its ability not only to enrich, but also to selectively isolate droplet subpopulations of interest. In this paper, we present an innovative piezoelectric-driven droplet sorter that is simple to fabricate, reproducible and robust, which provides extensive control over spatio-temporal droplet pattern. This degree of control is demonstrated by sorting droplets of alternating volumes and by grouping defined number of droplets into traveling clusters. The ability to automatically sort droplets is demonstrated by computerized detection and sorting of droplets based on their color. The sorter performance was investigated and found to work on a wide range of sorting parameters. The sorter is created by a single step fabrication process and does not rely on complex electronics or optics. These advantages simplify the adoption of droplet-based microfluidic technology by the scientific community and provide an ideal platform for single cell assays.