ArticlesMedical and Pharmaceutical

Unveiling the Potential of Droplet Generation, Sorting, Expansion, and Restoration in Microfluidic Biochips

Microfluidic biochip techniques are prominently replacing conventional biochemical analyzers by the integration of all functions necessary for biochemical analysis using microfluidics. The microfluidics of droplets offer exquisite control over the size of microliter samples to satisfy the requirements of embryo culture, which might involve a size ranging from picoliter to nanoliter. Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is the mainstream material for the fabrication of microfluidic devices due to its excellent biocompatibility and simplicity of fabrication. Herein, we developed a microfluidic biomedical chip on a PDMS substrate that integrated four key functions—generation of a droplet of an emulsion, sorting, expansion and restoration, which were employed in a mouse embryo system to assess reproductive medicine. The main channel of the designed chip had width of 1200 μm and height of 500 μm. The designed microfluidic chips possessed six sections—cleaved into three inlets and three outlets—to study the key functions with five-day embryo culture. The control part of the experiment was conducted with polystyrene (PS) beads (100 μm), the same size as the murine embryos, for the purpose of testing. The outcomes of our work illustrate that the rate of success of the static droplet culture group (87.5%) is only slightly less than that of a conventional group (95%). It clearly demonstrates that a droplet-based microfluidic system can produce a droplet in a volume range from picoliter to nanoliter.

Keywords: biochip; continue microfluidic system; droplet formation; droplet expansion and restoration; and embryo culture

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