Jump to main content
Jump to site search
Access to RSC content Close the message box

Continue to access RSC content when you are not at your institution. Follow our step-by-step guide.


Issue 22, 2018
Previous Article Next Article

Microfluidic diamagnetic water-in-water droplets: a biocompatible cell encapsulation and manipulation platform

Author affiliations

Abstract

Droplet microfluidics enables cellular encapsulation for biomedical applications such as single-cell analysis, which is an important tool used by biologists to study cells on a single-cell level, and understand cellular heterogeneity in cell populations. However, most cell encapsulation strategies in microfluidics rely on random encapsulation processes, resulting in large numbers of empty droplets. Therefore, post-sorting of droplets is necessary to obtain samples of purely cell-encapsulating droplets. With the recent advent of aqueous two-phase systems (ATPS) as a biocompatible alternative of the conventional water-in-oil droplet systems for cellular encapsulation, there has also been a focus on integrating ATPS with droplet microfluidics. In this paper, we describe a new technique that combines ATPS-based water-in-water droplets with diamagnetic manipulation to isolate single-cell encapsulating water-in-water droplets, and achieve a purity of 100% in a single pass. We exploit the selective partitioning of ferrofluid in an ATPS of polyethylene glycol–polypropylene glycol–polyethylene glycol triblock copolymer (PEG–PPG–PEG) and dextran (DEX), to achieve diamagnetic manipulation of water-in-water droplets. A cell-triggered Rayleigh–Plateau instability in the dispersed phase thread results in a size distinction between the cell-encapsulating and empty droplets, enabling diamagnetic separation and sorting of the cell-encapsulating droplets from empty droplets. This is a simple and biocompatible all-aqueous platform for single-cell encapsulation and droplet manipulation, with applications in single-cell analysis.

Graphical abstract: Microfluidic diamagnetic water-in-water droplets: a biocompatible cell encapsulation and manipulation platform

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
20 Aug 2018
Accepted
10 Oct 2018
First published
16 Oct 2018

Lab Chip, 2018,18, 3361-3370
Article type
Paper

Microfluidic diamagnetic water-in-water droplets: a biocompatible cell encapsulation and manipulation platform

M. Navi, N. Abbasi, M. Jeyhani, V. Gnyawali and S. S. H. Tsai, Lab Chip, 2018, 18, 3361
DOI: 10.1039/C8LC00867A

Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements