Magnetofluidic platform for multidimensional magnetic and optical barcoding of droplets†
We present a concept of multidimensional magnetic and optical barcoding of droplets based on a magnetofluidic platform. The platform comprises multiple functional areas, such as an encoding area, an encoded droplet pool and a magnetic decoding area with integrated giant magnetoresistive (GMR) sensors. To prove this concept, penicillin functionalized with fluorescent dyes is coencapsulated with magnetic nanoparticles into droplets. While fluorescent dyes are used as conventional optical barcodes which are decoded with an optical decoding setup, an additional dimensionality of barcodes is created by using magnetic nanoparticles as magnetic barcodes for individual droplets and integrated micro-patterned GMR sensors as the corresponding magnetic decoding devices. The strategy of incorporating a magnetic encoding scheme provides a dynamic range of ~40 dB in addition to that of the optical method. When combined with magnetic barcodes, the encoding capacity can be increased by more than 1 order of magnitude compared with using only optical barcodes, that is, the magnetic platform provides more than 10 unique magnetic codes in addition to each optical barcode. Besides being a unique magnetic functional element for droplet microfluidics, the platform is capable of on-demand facile magnetic encoding and real-time decoding of droplets which paves the way for the development of novel non-optical encoding schemes for highly multiplexed droplet-based biological assays.