Precision ejection of microfluidic droplets into air with a superhydrophobic outlet†
Dispensing micron-scale droplets from a suspended nozzle is important for applications in bioprinting, analytical chemistry, and pharmaceutical formulation. Here, we describe a general approach to eject droplets from microfluidic devices using superhydrophobic patterning; this facilitates release of wetted fluids, allowing droplets to break contact with channel surfaces and travel along regular paths to achieve a printing accuracy of ∼3 μm. We demonstrate the utility of the approach by using it to print droplets of varied composition from a microfluidic mixing device. Our approach is compatible with common fabrication techniques making it applicable to devices configured for diverse applications.