Encoded microparticles are high demand in multiplexed assays and labeling. However, the current methods for the synthesis and coding of microparticles either lack robustness and reliability, or possess limited coding capacity. Here, a massive coding of dissociated elements (MiCODE) technology based on innovation of a chemically reactive off-stoichimetry thiol-allyl photocurable polymer and standard lithography to produce a large number of quick response (QR) code microparticles is introduced. The coding process is performed by photobleaching the QR code patterns on microparticles when fluorophores are incorporated into the prepolymer formulation. The fabricated encoded microparticles can be released from a substrate without changing their features. Excess thiol functionality on the microparticle surface allows for grafting of amine groups and further DNA probes. A multiplexed assay is demonstrated using the DNA-grafted QR code microparticles. The MiCODE technology is further characterized by showing the incorporation of BODIPY-maleimide (BDP-M) and Nile Red fluorophores for coding and the use of microcontact printing for immobilizing DNA probes on microparticle surfaces. This versatile technology leverages mature lithography facilities for fabrication and thus is amenable to scale-up in the future, with potential applications in bioassays and in labeling consumer products.
Ramirez, Lisa Marie S., Muhan He, Shay Mailloux, Justin George, Jun Wang