Image-based feedback and analysis system for digital microfluidics†
Digital microfluidics (DMF) is a technology that provides a means of manipulating nL–μL volumes of liquids on an array of electrodes. By applying an electric potential to an electrode, these discrete droplets can be controlled in parallel which can be transported, mixed, reacted, and analyzed. Typically, an automation system is interfaced with a DMF device that uses a standard set of basic instructions written by the user to execute droplet operations. Here, we present the first feedback method for DMF that relies on imaging techniques that will allow online detection of droplets without the need to reactivate all destination electrodes. Our system consists of integrating open-source electronics with a CMOS camera and a zoom lens for acquisition of the images that will be used to detect droplets on the device. We also created an algorithm that uses a Hough transform to detect a variety of droplet sizes and to detect singular droplet dispensing and movement failures on the device. As a first test, we applied this feedback system to test droplet movement for a variety of liquids used in cell-based assays and to optimize different feedback actuation schemes to improve droplet movement fidelity. We also applied our system to a colorimetric enzymatic assay to show that our system is capable of biological analysis. Overall, we believe that using our approach of integrating imaging and feedback for DMF can provide a platform for automating biological assays with analysis.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Lab on a Chip Emerging Investigators