A novel microfluidic device enabling selective generation of droplets and encapsulation of targets is presented. Unlike conventional methods, the presented mechanism generates droplets with unique selectivity by utilizing a K-junction design. The K-junction is a modified version of the classic T-junction with an added leg that serves as the exit channel for waste. The dispersed phase fluid enters from one diagonal of the K and exits the other diagonal while the continuous phase travels in the straight leg of the K. The intersection forms an interface that allows the dispersed phase to be controllably injected through actuation of an elastomer membrane located above the inlet channel near the interface. We have characterized two critical components in controllingthe droplet size—membrane actuation pressure and timing as well as identified the region of fluid in which the droplet will be formed. This scheme will have applications in fluid sampling processes and selective encapsulation of materials. Selective encapsulation of a single cell from the dispersed phase fluid is demonstrated as an example of functionality of this design.
Melinda Simon, Jeffrey Fisher, Melinda Simon, and Abraham Lee. "Novel On-Demand Droplet Generation for Selective Fluid Sample Extraction" Biomicrofluidics (2012). doi:10.1063/1.3699972