Printed Droplet Microfluidics


We have developed a technology called Printed Droplet Microfluidics (PDM) to dispense picoliter droplets and cells with complete, deterministic control. The core technology is a fluorescence-activated droplet sorter coupled to a specialized substrate that together act as a picoliter droplet and single-cell printer, enabling high-throughput generation of intricate arrays of droplets, cells, and microparticles. Printed droplet microfluidics provides a programmable and robust technology to construct arrays of defined cell and reagent combinations and to integrate multiple measurement modalities together in a single assay. We are currently pursuing a variety of applications using PDM technology, including metabolite screening, sequencing sample prep, and cell-cell interaction studies.

Deposition of of droplets onto a substrate

The printer consists of a sorter-based print head that selectively dispenses microfluidic droplets to a substrate under a cover of oil. The printing process is automated by coupling the print head to a motorized stage. Deterministic combinations of cells and reagents can be formed at each location through additive droplet printing.

   Diagram of the droplet printer microfluidics (from Cole et al. 2017)


Diagram of the droplet printer microfluidics (from Cole et al. 2017)

Selected Publications

"Printed droplet microfluidics for on demand dispensing of picoliter droplets and cells."
   R.H. Cole, S. Tang , C. A. Siltanen , P. Shahi , J.Q. Zhang, S. Pousta , Z.J. Gartner and A.R. Abate
   PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1704020114

"Multicolor Fluorescence Detection for Droplet Microfluidics Using Optical Fibers."
   Cole, R. H., Gartner, Z. J., Abate, A. R.
   J. Vis. Exp., DOI: 10.3791/54010