Formation of Arrayed Droplets by Soft Lithography and Two-Phase Fluid Flow, and Application in Protein Crystallization


  • This work was supported in part by the NIH (R01 EB001903) and the Beckman Young Investigator Program, and was performed at the MRSEC microfluidic facility funded by the NSF.


This paper presents an overview of our recent work on the use of soft lithography and two-phase fluid flow to form arrays of droplets. The crucial issues in the formation of stable arrays of droplets and alternating droplets of two sets of aqueous solutions include the geometry of the microchannels, the capillary number, and the water fraction of the system. Glass capillaries could be coupled to the PDMS microchannels and droplets could be transferred into glass capillaries for long-term storage. The arrays of droplets have been applied to screen the conditions for protein crystallization with microbatch and vapor diffusion techniques.