Motorized actuation system to perform droplet operations on printed plastic sheets



Taejoon Kong, Santosh Pandey


We developed an open microfluidic system to dispense and manipulate discrete droplets on planar plastic sheets. Here, a superhydrophobic material is spray-coated on commercially-available plastic sheets followed by the printing of hydrophilic symbols using an inkjet printer. The patterned plastic sheets are taped to a two-axis tilting platform, powered by stepper motors, that provides mechanical agitation for droplet transport. We demonstrate the following droplet operations: transport of droplets of different sizes, parallel transport of multiple droplets, merging and mixing of multiple droplets, dispensing of smaller droplets from a large droplet or a fluid reservoir, and one-directional transport of droplets. As a proof-of-concept, a colorimetric assay is implemented to measure the glucose concentration in sheep serum. Compared to silicon-based digital microfluidic devices, we believe that the presented system is appealing for various biological experiments because of the ease of altering design layouts of hydrophilic symbols, relatively faster turnaround time in printing plastic sheets, larger area to accommodate more tests, and lower operational costs by using off-the-shelf products.


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