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Issue 16, 2013
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Surface acoustic waves for on-demand production of picoliter droplets and particle encapsulation

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Abstract

Microscopic water-in-oil droplets are a versatile chemical and biological platform whose dimensions result in short reaction times and require minuscule amounts of reagent. Methods exist for the production of droplets, though the vast majority are only able to do so in continuous flows, restricting the ability to independently control reactions of individual droplets, a prerequisite for programmable digital microfluidics. Here we present a novel method to produce individual picoliter-scale droplets on-demand using surface acoustic waves (SAW). Acoustic forces arising from SAW act on the oil–water interface, creating a droplet whose volume is defined by the applied power, duration of the force and system geometry. Additionally, this method is able to pre-concentrate particles simultaneously with droplet production, meaning that particles and cells, even if in a dilute mixture, can be easily encapsulated. Our method is expected to be applicable to high-throughput screening, bioreactor creation and other microfluidic processes.

Graphical abstract: Surface acoustic waves for on-demand production of picoliter droplets and particle encapsulation

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
21 Mar 2013
Accepted
30 May 2013
First published
04 Jun 2013

Lab Chip, 2013,13, 3225-3231
Article type
Paper

Surface acoustic waves for on-demand production of picoliter droplets and particle encapsulation

D. J. Collins, T. Alan, K. Helmerson and A. Neild, Lab Chip, 2013, 13, 3225
DOI: 10.1039/C3LC50372K

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