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micrIO: an open-source autosampler and fraction collector for automated microfluidic input–output

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Abstract

Microfluidic devices are an enabling technology for many labs, facilitating a wide range of applications spanning high-throughput encapsulation, molecular separations, and long-term cell culture. In many cases, however, their utility is limited by a ‘world-to-chip’ barrier that makes it difficult to serially interface samples with these devices. As a result, many researchers are forced to rely on low-throughput, manual approaches for managing device input and output (IO) of samples, reagents, and effluent. Here, we present a hardware–software platform for automated microfluidic IO (micrIO). The platform, which is uniquely compatible with positive-pressure microfluidics, comprises an ‘AutoSipper’ for input and a ‘Fraction Collector’ for output. To facilitate widespread adoption, both are open-source builds constructed from components that are readily purchased online or fabricated from included design files. The software control library, written in Python, allows the platform to be integrated with existing experimental setups and to coordinate IO with other functions such as valve actuation and assay imaging. We demonstrate these capabilities by coupling both the AutoSipper and Fraction Collector to two microfluidic devices: a simple, valved inlet manifold and a microfluidic droplet generator that produces beads with distinct spectral codes. Analysis of the collected materials in each case establishes the ability of the platform to draw from and output to specific wells of multiwell plates with negligible cross-contamination between samples.

Graphical abstract: micrIO: an open-source autosampler and fraction collector for automated microfluidic input–output

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Publication details

The article was received on 30 May 2019, accepted on 30 Oct 2019 and first published on 04 Nov 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9LC00512A
Lab Chip, 2019, Advance Article
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    micrIO: an open-source autosampler and fraction collector for automated microfluidic input–output

    S. A. Longwell and P. M. Fordyce, Lab Chip, 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9LC00512A

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