Although the elementary unit of biology is the cell, high-throughput methods for the microscale manipulation of cells and reagents are limited. The existing options either are slow, lack single-cell specificity, or use fluid volumes out of scale with those of cells. Here we present printed droplet microfluidics, a technology to dispense picoliter droplets and cells with deterministic control. The core technology is a fluorescence-activated droplet sorter coupled to a specialized substrate that together act as a picoliter droplet and single-cell printer, enabling high-throughput generation of intricate arrays of droplets, cells, and microparticles. Printed droplet microfluidics provides a programmable and robust technology to construct arrays of defined cell and reagent combinations and to integrate multiple measurement modalities together in a single assay.
Keywords: cell printing; droplet array; droplet microfluidics; fluorescence-activated droplet sorting; single-cell analysis.