UK microfluidics company, Dolomite, have announced the development of a new technology that enables the rapid and controllable generation of monodispersed droplets. Dolomite claim that this new technology has the potential to accelerate drug discovery and enable novel materials fabrication. Microfluidics is an exciting new field of science and engineering that enables very small-scale fluid control and analysis, allowing instrument manufacturers to develop smaller, more cost-effective and more powerful systems. With lab-on-a-chip technology, entire complex chemical management and analysis systems are created in a microfluidic chip and interfaced with, for example, electronics and optical detection systems.
“Key to the development of a droplet formation device is the ability to design flow junctions to give a particular droplet size to meet different market needs,” said Philip Homewood, Engineering Manager at Dolomite. “Using our extensive design and fabrication expertise we are able to precisely control channel dimensions and surface properties, achieving droplet volumes in the picolitre to nanolitre range. Single flow junctions can readily yield droplet generation rates of 1000 droplets per second. Higher rates can be realized by multiplexing a number of flow junctions onto a single device.”
Dolomite’s new flow-focusing chip is a glass device that enables the creation of droplets of uniform size. Originally developed for emulsion formation studies, it also has potential in areas such as Janus particle formation for use in, for example, the fabrication of electronic paper and targeted drug delivery.
“The droplet generation device is an excellent example of what we can achieve,” said Gillian Davis, Commercial Director at Dolomite. “Combining our understanding of chemistry and the life sciences with our microfluidic device and systems design and fabrication expertise we are enabling some of the world’s leading providers in fields as diverse as point of care clinical diagnostics, forensic science and food science to deliver microfluidic systems to the market place.”
Dolomite now has an office in the US and is also working with specialist scientific distribution companies in Japan, China, Singapore, India and a number of other countries.
“We are seeing an increasing level of interest in droplet generation devices for use in a broad range of application areas from protein crystallization to emulsion formation,” said Gillian Davis. “As the operational and commercial benefits of microfluidics are becoming clearer, we are seeing an increase in real-world applications and more diverse types of customers.”
Established in 2005 as the world’s first microfluidic application centre, Dolomite is focussed on working with customers to turn their concepts for microfluidic applications into reality. With an in-depth understanding of chemistry and the life sciences, expertise in microfabrication and microfluidics, together with instrument design and development capabilities, Dolomite is enabling some of the world’s top providers in fields as diverse as environmental monitoring, drug discovery and forensic science to deliver microfluidic systems to the market place.