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Issue 3, 2014
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Synchronized reinjection and coalescence of droplets in microfluidics

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Coalescence of two kinds of pre-processed droplets is necessary to perform chemical and biological assays in droplet-based microfluidics. However, a robust technique to accomplish this does not exist. Here we present a microfluidic device to synchronize the reinjection of two different kinds of droplets and coalesce them, using hydrostatic pressure in conjunction with a conventional syringe pump. We use a device consisting of two opposing T-junctions for reinjecting two kinds of droplets and control the flows of the droplets by applying gravity-driven hydrostatic pressure. The hydrostatic-pressure operation facilitates balancing the droplet reinjection rates and allows us to synchronize the reinjection. Furthermore, we present a simple but robust module to coalesce two droplets that sequentially come into the module, regardless of their arrival times. These re-injection and coalescence techniques might be used in lab-on-chip applications requiring droplets with controlled numbers of solid materials, which can be made by coalescing two pre-processed droplets that are formed and sorted in devices.

Graphical abstract: Synchronized reinjection and coalescence of droplets in microfluidics

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Article information

27 Oct 2013
18 Nov 2013
First published
19 Nov 2013

Lab Chip, 2014,14, 509-513
Article type

Synchronized reinjection and coalescence of droplets in microfluidics

M. Lee, J. W. Collins, D. M. Aubrecht, R. A. Sperling, L. Solomon, J. Ha, G. Yi, D. A. Weitz and V. N. Manoharan, Lab Chip, 2014, 14, 509
DOI: 10.1039/C3LC51214B

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