Interfacing digital microfluidics with high-field nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is extremely powerful for chemical analysis but it suffers from lower mass sensitivity compared to many other analytical detection methods. NMR microcoils have been developed in response to this limitation, but interfacing these coils with small sample volumes is a challenge. We introduce here the first digital microfluidic system capable of interfacing droplets of analyte with microcoils in a high-field NMR spectrometer. A finite element simulation was performed to assist in determining appropriate system parameters. After optimization, droplets inside the spectrometer could be controlled remotely, permitting the observation of processes such as xylose–borate complexation and glucose oxidase catalysis. We propose that the combination of DMF and NMR will be a useful new tool for a wide range of applications in chemical analysis.