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

C. McDougall, E. Fradet, C. N. Baroud, D. McGloin

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

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    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
    Number of pages7
    ISBN (Print)9780819487070
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventSPIE Optics+Photonics 2011: Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation VIII - San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, United States
    Duration: 21 Aug 201125 Aug 2011

    Publication series

    NameProceedings of SPIE


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


    • Microfluidics
    • Optical manipulation
    • Droplet fluidics
    • Droplet chemistry
    • patterned 2D arrays


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