Fornell A, Nilsson J, Jonsson L, Periyannan Rajeswari PK, Joensson HN, Tenje M
Anal. Chem. 87 (20) 10521-10526 [2015-10-20; online 2015-10-09]
In this paper, we utilize bulk acoustic waves to control the position of microparticles inside droplets in two-phase microfluidic systems and demonstrate a method to enrich the microparticles. In droplet microfluidics, different unit operations are combined and integrated on-chip to miniaturize complex biochemical assays. We present a droplet unit operation capable of controlling the position of microparticles during a trident shaped droplet split. An acoustic standing wave field is generated in the microchannel, and the acoustic forces direct the encapsulated microparticles to the center of the droplets. The method is generic, requires no labeling of the microparticles, and is operated in a noncontact fashion. It was possible to achieve 2+-fold enrichment of polystyrene beads (5 μm in diameter) in the center daughter droplet with an average recovery of 89% of the beads. Red blood cells were also successfully manipulated inside droplets. These results show the possibility to use acoustophoresis in two-phase systems to enrich microparticles and open up the possibility for new droplet-based assays that are not performed today.