On-chip electrocoalescence of microdroplets as a function of voltage, frequency and droplet size

Zagnoni, M. and Cooper, J. M. (2009) On-chip electrocoalescence of microdroplets as a function of voltage, frequency and droplet size. Lab on a Chip, 9(18), pp. 2652-2658. (doi: 10.1039/B906298J) (PMID:19704980)

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Electric fields have previously been used in microfluidic devices for the manipulation, sorting and mixing of microemulsions. Here, an active system for on-demand electrocoalescence of water droplets in oil is presented. The platform does not require precise electrode alignment nor droplet-droplet or droplet-electric field synchronisation. Droplets can be reliably merged in pairs at a rate up to 50 fusion events per second. The fusion mechanism is based on the balance between viscous, electric and interfacial stresses at the droplet interface and depends upon the flow behaviour in the microchannel. Experimental results show that, under different conditions of frequency, applied potential and size of the droplets with respect to the channel geometry, diverse types of droplet coalescence occur. The fusion mechanism and general trends which enabled different merging results are proposed. This system has potential for being applied and multiplexed for high throughput, emulsion-based applications in the field of combinatorial reactions and screening bioassays.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Alignment, break-up, channel, chip, coalescence, deformation, device, devices, dielectrophoresis, digital microfluidics, electrocoalescence, England, fields, frequencies, microfluidic devices, nanoliter droplets, protein expression, science, single-cells, system, water, water droplets
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cooper, Professor Jonathan and Zagnoni, Dr Michele
Authors: Zagnoni, M., and Cooper, J. M.
Subjects:T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering
Journal Name:Lab on a Chip
Publisher:Royal Society of Chemistry
ISSN (Online):1473-0189
Published Online:10 June 2009

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
460401Droplet-based microfluidics for single cell-omics.Jonathan CooperBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/F005024/1Biomedical Engineering