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Programmable Droplets


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The new hardware uses electric fields to move droplets around a surface.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab researchers have developed hardware that uses electric fields to move droplets of chemical or biological solutions around a surface, mixing them in ways that could be used to test thousands of reactions in parallel.

Credit: Udayan Umapathi

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab have created hardware that applies electric fields to manipulate droplets of chemical or biological solutions around a surface, mixing them to test thousands of reactions in parallel as a low-cost alternative to experimentation.

"Traditional microfluidic systems...are mechanical, and they break down all the time," notes MIT's Udayan Umapathi.

He says the new system can deposit thousands of droplets on the device surface, and they would automatically move around to conduct biological experiments.

The system runs software that enables users to describe the desired experiments, automatically calculates droplets' paths across the surface, and coordinates the timing of successive tasks.

From MIT News
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