Rapid and flexible actuation of droplets via a low-adhesive and deformable magnetically functionalized membrane
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Swift and convenient handling of discrete micro-droplets on digital microfluidics platform has recently attracted plentiful interest in high-throughput bio/chemical analysis. In this work, we developed a novel and facile approach to manipulate the micro-droplet based on a hydrophobic and low-adhesive magnetically functionalized polydimethylsiloxane (MF-PDMS) membrane. The platform is composed of the MF-PDMS membrane as the substrate, integrated with non-magnetic PDMS micro-pillar arrays on-top to ensure the low adhesion between the platform and the resident drops. With applied magnetic field, the localized membrane deformation could induce the unbalanced force imposed on the micro-droplet, leading to free rolling-off for flexible control including the position and velocity, etc. We have experimentally verified that the proposed avenue could be successfully applied for kinds of on-chip micro-droplet manipulations, such as droplet merging, parallel manipulation, flexible trajectory control. With the flexibility and maximum velocity reported herein (~ 79 ± 6 mm/s), we believe that the presented platform could be potentially applied for biological or chemical analysis where precise manipulation of large amounts of individual droplets is critical.
The authors appreciate the support of the Science and Technology Development Fund from Macau SAR (FDCT-073/2016/A2) and Start-up Research Grant (SRG2016-00067-FST) from the Research and Development Administration Office at University of Macau.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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