A compact 3D-printed interface for coupling open digital microchips with Venturi easy ambient sonic-spray ionization mass spectrometry
Digital microfluidics (DMF) based on the electrowetting-on-dielectric phenomenon is a convenient way of handling microlitre-volume aliquots of solutions prior to analysis. Although it was shown to be compatible with on-line mass spectrometric detection, due to numerous technical obstacles, the implementation of DMF in conjunction with MS is still beyond the reach of many analytical laboratories. Here we present a facile method for coupling open DMF microchips to mass spectrometers using Venturi easy ambient sonic-spray ionization operated at atmospheric pressure. The proposed interface comprises a 3D-printed body that can easily be “clipped” at the inlet of a standard mass spectrometer. The accessory features all the necessary connections for an open-architecture DMF microchip with T-shaped electrode arrangement, thermostatting of the microchip, purification of air (to prevent accidental contamination of the microchip), a Venturi pump, and two microfluidic pumps to facilitate transfer of samples and reagents onto the microchip. The system also incorporates a touch-screen panel and remote control for user-friendly operation. It is based on the use of popular open-source electronic modules, and can readily be assembled at low expense.