Reconfigurable microfluidic dilution for high-throughput quantitative assays

This paper reports a reconfigurable microfluidic dilution device for high-throughput quantitative assays, which can easily produce discrete logarithmic/binary concentration profiles ranging from 1 to 100-fold dilution in parallel from a fixed sample volume (e.g., 10 μL) without any assistance of continuous fluidic pump or robotic automation. The integrated dilution generation chip consists of switchable distribution and collection channels, metering reservoirs, reaction chambers, and pressure-activatable Laplace valves. Following the sequential loading of a sample, a diluent, and a detection reagent into their individual metering chambers, the top microfluidic layer can be reconfigured to collect the metered chemicals into the reaction chambers in parallel, where detection will be conducted. To facilitate mixing and reaction in the microchambers, two acoustic microstreaming actuation mechanisms have been investigated for easy integrability and accessibility. Furthermore, the microfluidic dilution generator has been characterized by both colorimetric and fluorescent means. A further demonstration of the generic usage of the quantitative dilution chip has utilized the commonly available bicinchoninic acid (BCA) assay to analyse the protein concentrations of human tissue extracts. In brief, the microfluidic dilution generator offers a high-throughput high-efficiency quantitative analytical alternative to conventional quantitative assay platforms, by simple manipulation of a minute amount of chemicals in a compact microfluidic device with minimal equipment requirement, which can serve as a facile tool for biochemical and biological analyses in regular laboratories, point-of-care settings and low-resource environments.

Fan, Jinzhen, Baoqing Li, Siyuan Xing, Tingrui Pan

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