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PloS one

Bead mediated separation of microparticles in droplets.


PMID 28282412

Abstract

Exchange of components such as particles and cells in droplets is important and highly desired in droplet microfluidic assays, and many current technologies use electrical or magnetic fields to accomplish this process. Bead-based microfluidic techniques offer an alternative approach that uses the bead's solid surface to immobilize targets like particles or biological material. In this paper, we demonstrate a bead-based technique for exchanging droplet content by separating fluorescent microparticles in a microfluidic device. The device uses posts to filter surface-functionalized beads from a droplet and re-capture the filtered beads in a new droplet. With post spacing of 7 μm, beads above 10 μm had 100% capture efficiency. We demonstrate the efficacy of this system using targeted particles that bind onto the functionalized beads and are, therefore, transferred from one solution to another in the device. Binding capacity tests performed in the bulk phase showed an average binding capacity of 5 particles to each bead. The microfluidic device successfully separated the targeted particles from the non-targeted particles with up to 98% purity and 100% yield.