Assembly and Characterization of the New Centrifugal Step Emulsification Equipment Setup for Microfluidic Applications

Authors: Peter Tran, David Ho, Katelyn Valladao

Advisor: Dr. Melinda Simon

Microfluidic point-of-care diagnostics frequently require monodisperse droplets in order to enable the recording of discrete measurements.  Formation and imaging of the droplets can be unsuccessful if the platform is not parallel within a certain tolerance, or the light intensity for imaging is insufficient. To generate viable monodisperse droplets, a robust setup that consistently creates droplets repeatedly and reproducibly is preferred. However, Microfluidic sets ups are not designed to a particular industry standard for droplet generation. Here, we characterize crucial industry microfluidic setup parameters to determine if the resulting variability is less than 10%. In particular, we evaluate the centrifugal step emulsification, the motors used for driving the process, fluorescent LED for image acquisitions, and operators of the process. The results of this work have strong implications for diagnostic reliability, as a false positive would result in wasted time and a false negative could pose harm to the consumer.