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Keywords:

  • multiphase microfluidics;
  • compound droplets;
  • ionic liquids;
  • chemical analysis
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Inspired by the enchanting bioluminescence of fireflies, herein microfluidic droplet-based ‘fireflies’ for non-invasive biphasic chemical analysis are demonstrated. Bicompartmental droplets are created where a model analyte is transported from the aqueous compartment to the adjacent ionic liquid segment, yielding a bright fluid firefly structure via a localized catalytic reaction. Analysis of fluorescence emission kinetics and a method to passively decouple the two compartments at a constriction are presented.