A microfluidic-based dynamic microarray system with single-layer pneumatic valves for immobilization and selective retrieval of single microbeads

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A simple yet effective dynamic bead-based microarray is necessary for multiplexed high-throughput screening applications in the fields of biology and chemistry. This paper introduces a microfluidic-based dynamic microbead array system using pneumatically driven elastomeric valves integrated with a microchannel in a single polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) layer that performs the following functions: single-microbead arraying with loading and trapping efficiencies of 100 %, sequential microbead release for selective retrieval of microbeads of interest, and rapid microarray resettability (<1 s). The key feature is the utilization of an elastomeric membrane as a valve for trapping and releasing single microbeads; this membrane is deformable depending on the applied pneumatic pressure, thereby simply providing a dual trap-and-release function. We propose an effective single-microbead-trapping mechanism based on a dynamic flow-change network and a mathematical model as the design criterion of a trapping site. A sequential microbead release technique via a multistep “release-retrap-and-repeat” method was developed for the selective retrieval of trapped microbeads with a simple configuration consisting of a single PDMS layer and a simple macro-to-micro connection. The proposed dynamic microbead array could be a powerful tool for high-throughput multiplex bead-based drug screening or disease diagnosis.

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This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) (No. 2011-0030075) and Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2012R1A1A2006305). We would like to express our appreciation to Prof. Jehyun Baek and Prof. Dongsung Kim, POSTECH for their support on our experimental setup to perform this work.

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Correspondence to Joonwon Kim.

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Kim, H., Kim, J. A microfluidic-based dynamic microarray system with single-layer pneumatic valves for immobilization and selective retrieval of single microbeads. Microfluid Nanofluid 16, 623–633 (2014) doi:10.1007/s10404-013-1267-9

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  • Microfluidics
  • Single-microbead array
  • Single-layer pneumatic valve
  • Sequential release
  • Device resettability