Droplet-based Microfluidics

Droplet-based Microfluidics

The droplet microfluidic technology is a powerful tool for high-throughput analysis in the fields of biology and chemistry, which processes the formation and operation of uniform and micron-sized droplets at an extremely high rate. It has extremely high productivity for droplets, making it possible to perform thousands of measurements in parallel. Compared with the traditional technology, it has a higher analysis resolution. The advantages of droplet microfluidic technology make it widely used, ranging from microparticle synthesis to molecular biology and microbial research.

About Droplet Microfluidics

How does the microfluidic droplet generator chip produce such small uniform droplets at an unprecedented speed? This is related to its ability to make small nozzles. The two most common nozzle designs are flow-focusing junction and T-channel.

  • The dispersed phase in the T channel chip is bonded to the carrier microchannel T bond. The carrier phase shears the dispersed phase, breaking it into droplets.
  • The dispersed phase microchannel and the carrier microchannel in the flow focusing chip form an intersection. The carrier phase meets the dispersed phase at a higher flow rate from the side. The carrier phase breaks the dispersed phase into droplets.
Droplet based Microfluidics

The size and frequency of droplets depend on the ratio of the flow velocity of the dispersed phase to the continuous phase. There is a flow rate threshold that can produce uniform droplets. Above or below this threshold will result in polydisperse droplets or no droplets.

It is worth noting that, unlike digital microfluidics, droplet microfluidics devices can handle the mass production of droplets in a continuous manner.

Applications

Molecular Biology

The excellent characteristics of droplet microfluidics make it an excellent choice for high-throughput molecular biology assays, such as:

Functional Material Synthesis

Functional Material Synthesis

Droplet generation chips can generate a variety of droplets, which can be aggregated to produce particles with sizes ranging from a few microns to hundreds of microns. Alfa Chemistry has produced countless particles using microdroplet technology, including but not limited to the following:

How to Get The Droplet Generator Design?

Based on years of research experience in the field of microfluidics, Alfa Chemistry can provide you with a variety of droplet generation chips. You can buy high-quality droplet generation chips chips in our inventory.

We can also design and develop microfluidic droplet generators together with you. In the following, we have compiled a list of issues that need to be understood before designing and manufacturing a microfluidic droplet generator.

Determine the required droplet sizeThe size of the droplet is related to the size of the microfluidic channel and the height of the nozzle, and can be changed by changing the flow ratio of the water phase and the oil phase.
Selection of reagents and surfactantsReagents: Droplet microfluidic experiment requires at least one oil phase and one water phase.
Surfactants: A good surfactant can ensure that the droplets will not fuse during the passage of the microfluidic device and prevent non-specific adsorption of reagents.
Select surface treatment typeDepending on the experiment, the requirements for the hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity of the microchannel surface can be different.
Poisson distribution and flow conditionsThe main question here is what flow rate and flow rate ratio should be used? What should the concentration of cells be?
Post-build stepIn many cases, droplet formation and cell encapsulation are not enough. Usually, a post-generation step is required to control the droplets, which can include subcutaneous injection, incubation, thermal cycling, splitting, etc.

Reference

  • Li W, et al. (2018). "Microfluidic Fabrication of Microparticles for Biomedical Applications." Chemical Society Reviews. 47: 5646-5683.

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