Combining Rails and Anchors With Laser Forcing for Selective Manipulation Within 2D Droplet Arrays

Lab Chip. 2011 Dec 21;11(24):4228-34. doi: 10.1039/c1lc20541b. Epub 2011 Nov 1.


We demonstrate the combination of a rails and anchors microfluidic system with laser forcing to enable the creation of highly controllable 2D droplet arrays. Water droplets residing in an oil phase can be pinned to anchor holes made in the base of a microfluidic channel, enabling the creation of arrays by the appropriate patterning of such holes. The introduction of laser forcing, via laser induced thermocapillary forces to anchored droplets, enables the selective extraction of particular droplets from an array. We also demonstrate that such anchor arrays can be filled with multiple, in our case two, droplets each and that if such droplets have different chemical contents, the application of a laser at their interface triggers their merging and a chemical reaction to take place. Finally by adding guiding rails within the microfluidic structure we can selectively fill large scale arrays with monodisperse droplets with significant control over their contents. In this way we make a droplet array filled with 96 droplets containing different concentrations of fluorescent microparticles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Lasers*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods*
  • Oils / chemistry
  • Water / chemistry


  • Oils
  • Water