A gravity-actuated technique for flexible and portable microfluidic droplet manipulation

Kai Zhang, Qionglin Liang, Sai Ma, Tianxi He, Xiaoni Ai, Ping Hu, Yiming Wang, Guoan Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In this study, an inexpensive and robust microfluidic droplet manipulation device based on gravityactuated technique is described. The device is mainly composed of a turntable and some disposable infusion sets. The movement of oil-phase and water-phase in the microchannel is controllable. Droplet volume of different sizes is precisely generated by controlling droplet length using the turntable. A series of essential functional units have been demonstrated including on-demand sampling, droplets generation of controllable size and controllable number, droplets fusion of different sizes and contents, even dropletsstopping. These functions can well meet the requirements of routine droplet-based microfluidic biological/chemical assays, cell research, and high content drug screening. The presented technique shows unique advantages in inexpensiveness, flexibility, and portability when compared with general droplet manipulation systems containing precision syringe pump and complicated micromechanical/pneumatic valve. Furthermore, this device can be used as a portable droplet manipulation tool in outdoor and remote areas, because it does not need electrical source and is very facile to set up in any place.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)995-1001
Number of pages7
JournalMicrofluidics and Nanofluidics
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Droplet
  • Gravity
  • Manipulation
  • Microfluidic
  • Technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Materials Chemistry


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