On-chip droplet analysis and cell spheroid screening by capillary wrapping enabled shape-adaptive ferrofluid transporters

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1782-1793
Number of pages12
Journal / PublicationLab on a Chip
Issue number6
Online published31 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2024



Non-invasive droplet manipulation with no physical damage to the sample is important for the practical value of manipulation tools in multidisciplinary applications from biochemical analysis and diagnostics to cell engineering. It is a challenge to achieve this for most existing photothermal, electric stimuli, and magnetic field-based technologies. Herein, we present a droplet handling toolbox, the ferrofluid transporter, for non-invasive droplet manipulation in an oil environment. It involves the transport of droplets with high robustness and efficiency owing to low interfacial friction. This capability caters to various scenarios including droplets with varying components and solid cargo. Moreover, we fabricated a droplet array by transporter positioning and achieved droplet gating and sorting for complex manipulation in the droplet array. Benefiting from the ease of scale-up and high biocompatibility, the transporter-based droplet array can serve as a digital microfluidic platform for on-chip droplet-based bioanalysis, cell spheroid culture, and downstream drug screening tests. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2024.

Research Area(s)

  • Microfluidics, Colloids, Cell Engineering, Cell Culture Techniques

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