High-throughput screening by droplet microfluidics: perspective into key challenges and future prospects
In two decades of development, impressive strides have been made for automating basic laboratory operations in droplet-based microfluidics, allowing the emergence of a new form of high-throughput screening and experimentation in nanoliter to femtoliter volumes. Despite advancements in droplet storage, manipulation, and analysis, the field has not yet been widely adapted for many high-throughput screening (HTS) applications. Broad adoption and commercial development of these techniques require robust implementation of strategies for the stable storage, chemical containment, generation of libraries, sample tracking, and chemical analysis of these small samples. We discuss these challenges for implementing droplet HTS and highlight key strategies that have begun to address these concerns. Recent advances in the field leave us optimistic about the future prospects of this rapidly developing technology.