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Optical manipulation of "drops on rails" in two dimensional microfluidic devices

Optical manipulation of "drops on rails" in two dimensional microfluidic devices

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VIII
EditorsKishan Dholakia, Gabriel C. Spalding
Place of publicationBellingham
PublisherSPIE-International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication date2011
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9780819487070

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE


ConferenceSPIE Optics+Photonics 2011: Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VIII
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Internet address


When using single microfluidic droplets as isolated biological/chemical micro-reactors or arrays of droplets as 2D assaying tools, control over droplet placement is crucial to successful device implementation. Here we demonstrate a combined mechanical and optical approach to generate highly controllable arrays of droplets in pre-determined 'rails and anchors' patterns on a two-dimensional plane.

The technique combines passive mechanical forcing with selective laser action. Passive mechanical forcing provides a vehicle for droplet transport and storage and laser induced optical forcing is employed for stopping, guiding or derailing droplets as they pass through the chip. In this way intelligent operations can be performed upon arrays of droplets such as sorting, merging to initiate chemical reactions or selective removal of droplets from a predefined array. The user-generated array may then be held static against a mean flow for prolonged observation.


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