Droplet-based microfluidic systems have found their way into laboratories. With microfluidic droplet generation, it is possible to generate (monodisperse) droplets in the femto- to nanoliter scale. So, droplet generation has opened up unlimited experimental possibilities like digital PCR and single cell experiments. In these, the compartmentalization and surface-to-volume ratio are important.
Microfluidic droplet generation is based on the use of two immiscible phases. They are referred to as
- the continuous phase (oil, medium in which droplets flow) and
- dispersed phase (water, the droplet).
For generating droplets, microfluidic systems generally include a microfluidic chip, a fluid handling system and tubing. This system is usually connected to a computer and a microscope to visualize droplet formation.
Video: Microfluidic droplet generation using the mp6 micropump for single cell analysis
Droplet generation is crucial in single cell analysis and sorting as well as in PCR testing. Using the mp6 micropump and a chip by our partner microfluidic ChipShop, we are able to build a small and flexible system.
This solution is completely independent since it does not need a compressed air line like many other systems. Additionally, it only requires a small energy source. The whole system only needs ultra-small reaction volumes and is easy to use once you determined the perfect parameters for your application. By adjusting the water and oil pressures, you can easily change the droplet size and frequency.