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Biomicrofluidics. 2017 May 19;11(3):034111. doi: 10.1063/1.4984035. eCollection 2017 May.

Efficient extraction of oil from droplet microfluidic emulsions.

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Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), University of California, San Francisco, California 94158, USA.
Department of Physics and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


Droplet microfluidic techniques can perform large numbers of single molecule and cell reactions but often require controlled, periodic flow to merge, split, and sort droplets. Here, we describe a simple method to convert aperiodic flows into periodic ones. Using an oil extraction module, we efficiently remove oil from emulsions to readjust the droplet volume fraction, velocity, and packing, producing periodic flows. The extractor acts as a universal adaptor to connect microfluidic modules that do not operate under identical flow conditions, such as droplet generators, incubators, and merger devices.

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