Plug-and-actuate on demand: multimodal individual addressability of microarray plates using modular hybrid acoustic wave technology
The microarray titre plate remains a fundamental workhorse in genomic, proteomic and cellomic analyses that underpin the drug discovery process. Nevertheless, liquid handling technologies for sample dispensing, processing and transfer have not progressed significantly beyond conventional robotic micropipetting techniques, which are not only at their fundamental sample size limit, but are also prone to mechanical failure and contamination. This is because alternative technologies to date suffer from a number of constraints, mainly their limitation to carry out only a single liquid operation such as dispensing or mixing at a given time, and their inability to address individual wells, particularly at high throughput. Here, we demonstrate the possibility for true sequential or simultaneous single- and multi-well addressability in a 96-well plate using a reconfigurable modular platform from which MHz-order hybrid surface and bulk acoustic waves can be coupled to drive a variety of microfluidic modes including mixing, sample preconcentration and droplet jetting/ejection in individual or multiple wells on demand, thus constituting a highly versatile yet simple setup capable of improving the functionality of existing laboratory protocols and processes.