OODR – Laser, Indium Tin Oxide Enable Microfluidics

When it comes to high-capacity screening tests, or assays, for detecting and targeting certain cells or analytes (substances whose chemical makeup is the goal of identification), the static droplet array (SDA) is an essential and fundamental instrument. One significant technological barrier that prevents the SDA’s wider use is the extraction and collection of target droplets from the SDA that include distinct analytes or cells that must be removed. By integrating laser technology and an indium tin oxide (ITO) layer into a droplet microfluidics chip, scientists have created a novel optical on-demand droplet release (OODR) system.

The OODR system makes it possible to perform screening tests in a more approachable way while lowering the quantity of samples and reagents required without sacrificing effectiveness, cell viability, or analytical accuracy.

To selectively push a target droplet out of the chamber on the microfluidics chip based on the microdroplet single-cell sorting system, OODR works by carefully heating the ITO layer with a laser. Since yeast cells were successfully used, this suggests that the OODR system can be applied to various other cells.

With the correct laser intensity and a chip design with a 40 μm microbubble, researchers could effectively release a droplet of bacteria. Imaging was used to identify the droplet, which was then packed for examination. After that, the droplet was exported using capillary force, enabling high-throughput analysis and the morphological sorting of the target microorganisms. In addition to aiding in the packing and releasing of a target droplet in SDA, OODR doesn’t seem to interfere with the cell’s capacity to be cultured—a crucial function when additional live-cell studies are required.

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