Microfluidic bead encapsulation above 20 kHz with triggered drop formation†
Microsphere beads are functionalized with oligonucleotides, antibodies, and other moieties to enable specific detection of analytes. Droplet microfluidics leverages this for single-molecule or -cell analysis by pairing beads and targets in water-in-oil droplets. Pairing is achieved with devices operating in the dripping regime, limiting throughput. Here, we describe a pairing method that uses beads to trigger the breakup of a jet into monodispersed droplets. We use the method to pair 105 Human T cells with polyacrylamide beads ten times faster than methods operating in the dripping regime. Our method improves the throughput of bead-based droplet workflows, enabling analysis of large populations and the detection of rare events.