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Issue 20, 2014
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Low-cost experimentation for the study of droplet microfluidics

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Abstract

The continued growth of microfluidics into industry settings in areas such as point-of-care diagnostics and targeted therapeutics necessitates a workforce trained in microfluidic technologies and experimental methods. Laboratory courses for students at the university and high school levels will require cost-effective in-class demonstrations that instruct in chip design, fabrication, and experimentation at the microscale. We present a hand-operated pressure pumping system to form monodisperse picoliter to nanoliter droplet streams at low cost, and a series of exercises aimed at instructing in the specific art of droplet formation. Using this setup, the student is able to generate and observe the modes of droplet formation in flow-focusing devices, and the effect of device dimensions on the characteristics of formed droplets. Lastly, at ultra-low cost we demonstrate large plug formation in a T-junction using coffee stirrers as a master mold substitute. Our method reduces the cost of experimentation to enable intuitive instruction in droplet formation, with additional implications for creating droplets in the field or at point-of-care.

Graphical abstract: Low-cost experimentation for the study of droplet microfluidics

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Publication details

The article was received on 07 Apr 2014, accepted on 05 Aug 2014 and first published on 05 Aug 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4LC00424H
Citation: Lab Chip, 2014,14, 3978-3986
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    Low-cost experimentation for the study of droplet microfluidics

    D. Bardin and A. P. Lee, Lab Chip, 2014, 14, 3978
    DOI: 10.1039/C4LC00424H

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