Operation of Droplet-Microfluidic Devices with a Lab Centrifuge

Micromachines (Basel). 2016 Sep 6;7(9):161. doi: 10.3390/mi7090161.


Microfluidic devices are valuable for a variety of biotechnology applications, such as synthesizing biochemical libraries, screening enzymes, and analyzing single cells. However, normally, the devices are controlled using specialized pumps, which require expert knowledge to operate. Here, we demonstrate operation of poly(dimethylsiloxane) devices without pumps. We build a scaffold that holds the device and reagents to be infused in a format that can be inserted into a 50 mL falcon tube and spun in a common lab centrifuge. By controlling the device design and centrifuge spin speed, we infuse the reagents at controlled flow rates. We demonstrate the encapsulation and culture of clonal colonies of red and green Escherichia coli in droplets seeded from single cells.

Keywords: droplets; lab on chip; microfluidics; poly(dimethylsiloxane).