Special Issue "Droplet Microfluidics"

A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X). This special issue belongs to the section "A:Physics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Eric Brouzes
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA
Interests: single-cell analysis; single-cell genomics; droplet microfluidics; array of microwells
Dr. Siran Li
E-Mail
Assistant Guest Editor
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, USA
Interests: single-cell DNA sequencing; single-cell RNA sequencing; cancer genomics; bioinformatics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Droplet microfluidics has dramatically developed in the past decade, and has been established as one of the microfluidic technologies that can translate into commercial products. Its rapid development and adoption have relied not only on an efficient stabilizing system (oil and surfactant), but also on a library of modules that are able to manipulate droplets at a high-throughput. Droplet microfluidics is a vibrant field that keeps evolving, with advances that span technology development and applications. Recent examples include innovative methods to generate droplets, to perform single-cell encapsulation, magnetic extraction, or sorting at an even higher throughput. The trend consists of improving parameters such as robustness, throughput, or ease of use. Remarkably, these developments rely on a firm understanding of the physics and chemistry involved in capillary systems at a small scale. Finally, droplet microfluidics has played a pivotal role in biological applications, such as single-cell genomics or high-throughput microbial screening, and chemical applications.

This Special Issue seeks to showcase all of the aspects of the exciting field of droplet microfluidics, including, but not limited to, technology development, applications, and open-source systems.

Dr. Eric Brouzes
Dr. Siran Li
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Micromachines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • droplet microfluidics
  • droplet manipulation
  • droplet-based applications
  • chemistry of microfluidic droplets
  • physics of microfluidic droplets
  • open-source equipment for droplet microfluidics
  • droplet-based high-throughput screening
  • single-cell manipulation or analysis with droplet microfluidics

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessCommunication
Air-Bubble Induced Mixing: A Fluidic Mixer Chip
Micromachines 2020, 11(2), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11020195 (registering DOI) - 14 Feb 2020
Abstract
In this study, we report the design and fabrication of a novel fluidic mixer. As proof-of-concept, the laminar flow in the main channel is firstly filled with small air-bubbles, which act as active stirrers inducing chaotic convective turbulent flow, and thus enhance the [...] Read more.
In this study, we report the design and fabrication of a novel fluidic mixer. As proof-of-concept, the laminar flow in the main channel is firstly filled with small air-bubbles, which act as active stirrers inducing chaotic convective turbulent flow, and thus enhance the solutes mixing even at a low input flow rate. To further increase mixing efficiency, a design of neck constriction is included, which changes the relative positions of the inclusion bubbles significantly. The redistribution of liquid volume among bubbles then causes complex flow profile, which further enhances mixing. This work demonstrates a unique approach of utilizing air bubbles to facilitate mixing in bulk solution, which can find the potential applications in microfluidics, fast medical analysis, and biochemical synthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Droplet Microfluidics)
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Open AccessArticle
Numerical Simulation and Experimental Validation of Liquid Metal Droplet Formation in a Co-Flowing Capillary Microfluidic Device
Micromachines 2020, 11(2), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11020169 - 05 Feb 2020
Abstract
A two-phase flow axisymmetric numerical model was proposed to understand liquid metal droplet formation in a co-flowing capillary microfluidics device based on a phase field model. The droplet detachment processes were observed in the experiment and are in good agreement with the simulation [...] Read more.
A two-phase flow axisymmetric numerical model was proposed to understand liquid metal droplet formation in a co-flowing capillary microfluidics device based on a phase field model. The droplet detachment processes were observed in the experiment and are in good agreement with the simulation method. The effects of the viscosities and flowrates of the continuous phase fluid, interfacial tension as well as the wetting property of the metallic needle against the bulk liquid metal on the droplet formation and production rate were numerically investigated. It was found that the droplet diameter decreased with the increment of the viscosities and flowrates of the outer phase carrier fluid. The dispersed phase fluid with high interfacial tension tended to prolong the time for equilibrium between the viscous drag force and interfacial tension on the liquid–liquid fluid surface, delaying the droplet to be pinched off from the capillary orifice and causing large droplet diameter. Finally, the wetting performance of the metallic needle against the liquid metal was explored. The result indicate that the droplet diameter became less dependent on the contact angle while the size distribution of the liquid metal droplet was affected by their wetting performance. A more hydrophilic wetting performance were expected to prepare liquid metal droplet with more monodispersity. The numerical model and simulation results provide the feasibility of predicting the droplet formation with a high surface tension in a glass capillary microfluidic device. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Droplet Microfluidics)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Droplet Microfluidics-Enabled High-Throughput Screening for Protein Engineering
Micromachines 2019, 10(11), 734; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10110734 - 29 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Protein engineering—the process of developing useful or valuable proteins—has successfully created a wide range of proteins tailored to specific agricultural, industrial, and biomedical applications. Protein engineering may rely on rational techniques informed by structural models, phylogenic information, or computational methods or it may [...] Read more.
Protein engineering—the process of developing useful or valuable proteins—has successfully created a wide range of proteins tailored to specific agricultural, industrial, and biomedical applications. Protein engineering may rely on rational techniques informed by structural models, phylogenic information, or computational methods or it may rely upon random techniques such as chemical mutation, DNA shuffling, error prone polymerase chain reaction (PCR), etc. The increasing capabilities of rational protein design coupled to the rapid production of large variant libraries have seriously challenged the capacity of traditional screening and selection techniques. Similarly, random approaches based on directed evolution, which relies on the Darwinian principles of mutation and selection to steer proteins toward desired traits, also requires the screening of very large libraries of mutants to be truly effective. For either rational or random approaches, the highest possible screening throughput facilitates efficient protein engineering strategies. In the last decade, high-throughput screening (HTS) for protein engineering has been leveraging the emerging technologies of droplet microfluidics. Droplet microfluidics, featuring controlled formation and manipulation of nano- to femtoliter droplets of one fluid phase in another, has presented a new paradigm for screening, providing increased throughput, reduced reagent volume, and scalability. We review here the recent droplet microfluidics-based HTS systems developed for protein engineering, particularly directed evolution. The current review can also serve as a tutorial guide for protein engineers and molecular biologists who need a droplet microfluidics-based HTS system for their specific applications but may not have prior knowledge about microfluidics. In the end, several challenges and opportunities are identified to motivate the continued innovation of microfluidics with implications for protein engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Droplet Microfluidics)
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