A microfluidic device for self-synchronised production of droplets†
The primary requirement for a mixing operation in droplet-based microfluidic devices is an accurate pairing of droplets of reaction fluids over an extended period of time. In this paper, a novel device for self-synchronous production of droplets has been demonstrated. The device uses a change in impedance across a pair of electrodes introduced due to the passage of a pre-formed droplet to generate a second droplet at a second pair of electrodes. The device was characterised using image analysis. Droplets with a volume of ∼23.5 ± 3.1 nl (i.e. ∼93% of the volume of pre-formed droplets) were produced on applying a voltage of 500 V. The synchronisation efficiency of the device was 83%. As the device enables self-synchronised production of droplets, it has a potential to increase the reliability and robustness of mixing operations in droplet-based microfluidic devices.