Centrifugo-pneumatic multi-liquid aliquoting – parallel aliquoting and combination of multiple liquids in centrifugal microfluidics†
The generation of mixtures with precisely metered volumes is essential for reproducible automation of laboratory workflows. Splitting a given liquid into well-defined metered sub-volumes, the so-called aliquoting, has been frequently demonstrated on centrifugal microfluidics. However, so far no solution exists for assays that require simultaneous aliquoting of multiple, different liquids and the subsequent pairwise combination of aliquots with full fluidic separation before combination. Here, we introduce the centrifugo-pneumatic multi-liquid aliquoting designed for parallel aliquoting and pairwise combination of multiple liquids. All pumping and aliquoting steps are based on a combination of centrifugal forces and pneumatic forces. The pneumatic forces are thereby provided intrinsically by centrifugal transport of the assay liquids into dead end chambers to compress the enclosed air. As an example, we demonstrate simultaneous aliquoting of 1.) a common assay reagent into twenty 5 μl aliquots and 2.) five different sample liquids, each into four aliquots of 5 μl. Subsequently, the reagent and sample aliquots are simultaneously transported and combined into twenty collection chambers. All coefficients of variation for metered volumes were between 0.4%–1.0% for intra-run variations and 0.5%–1.2% for inter-run variations. The aliquoting structure is compatible to common assay reagents with a wide range of liquid and material properties, demonstrated here for contact angles between 20° and 60°, densities between 789 and 1855 kg m−3 and viscosities between 0.89 and 4.1 mPa s. The centrifugo-pneumatic multi-liquid aliquoting is implemented as a passive fluidic structure into a single fluidic layer. Fabrication is compatible to scalable fabrication technologies such as injection molding or thermoforming and does not require any additional fabrication steps such as hydrophilic or hydrophobic coatings or integration of active valves.