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Progress in Droplet Control of Microfluidic Chip

Recently, Professor Zhaoyuanjin of the School of Biological Science and Medical Engineering of Southeast University has made important progress in the droplet control of microfluidic chips. His team was inspired by the super sliding structure of the pitcher plants, and developed the shape memory porous thin film material which was electrically controlled by the surface wettability, and applied it to the droplet control of microfluidic chip. The result was published on June 3, 2017 in the world's top journal publication, Science Advances of Science.


Micro-fluidic is a technique that integrates the fluid into the chip, controls and operates the fluid behavior on the microscopic scale. In microfluidic chip system, the operation of droplet, such as transportation, separation, mixing and collecting, is the key to realize its biomedical application. In the past, most of the droplet manipulation required sophisticated means or instruments. Prof. Zhaoyuanjin’s group was inspired by the plant structure such as pitcher plants, and the shape-memory porous thin film material was constructed. This design has good reversibility, quick response and simple but lasting regulation. By applying the electric field of the program, the porous structure of the film can be changed, the wettability of the surface can be regulated, and the control of the surface droplet sliding path is realized, thus the precise addition of the micro-orifice plate is achieved. The technology originates from nature but transcends nature, and has important application value in the biomedical field of micro-porous plate addition.


The relevant work has been funded by Key Project of the National Natural Science Foundation (NSAF), the National Outstanding Youth Fund, and Jiangsu Provincial Outstanding Youth Fund. The first author is a 2014 doctoral student Wang Jie, undergraduate Sun Lingyu, Shing as a co-author, and Zhao Yuanjin as the paper's only communication author.