The Digital Revolution: A New Paradigm for Microfluidics

Authors

  • Mohamed Abdelgawad,

    1. Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering University of Toronto, 5 King's College Road Toronto, ON M5S 3G8 (Canada)
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  • Aaron R. Wheeler

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemistry University of Toronto, 80 St. George Street Toronto, ON M5S 3H6 (Canada)
    2. Institute of Biomaterial and Biomedical Engineering University of Toronto, 164 College Street Toronto, ON M5S 3G9 (Canada)
    3. Banting and Best Department of Medical Research University of Toronto, 112 College street Toronto, ON M5G 1L6 (Canada)
    • Department of Chemistry University of Toronto, 80 St. George Street Toronto, ON M5S 3H6 (Canada).
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Abstract

The digital revolution has come to microfluidics. In digital microfluidics (DMF), discrete droplets are manipulated by applying electrical fields to an array of electrodes. In contrast to microchannels, in DMF each sample and reagent is individually addressable, which facilitates exquisite control over chemical reactions. Here, we review the state-of-the-art in DMF, with a discussion of device formats, actuation physics, and biological and nonbiological applications. Along the way, we identify the key players in the field, and speculate on the advances and challenges that lie ahead. As with other fronts in the digital revolution, there have been and will be unexpected developments as DMF matures, but we posit that the future is bright for this promising technology.

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