A microfluidic abacus channel for controlling the addition of droplets†
This paper reports the first use of the abacus-groove structure to handle droplets in a wide microchannel, with no external forces integrated to the system other than the pumps. Microfluidic abacus channels are demonstrated for the sequential addition of droplets at the desired location. A control channel which is analogous to biasing in electronics can also be used to precisely determine the number of added droplets, when all other experimental conditions are fixed including the size of the droplets and the frequency of droplet-generation. The device allows programmable and autonomous operations of complex two-phase microfluidics as well as new applications for the method of analysis and computations in lab-on-a-chip devices.