MAY 25, 2017 7:30 AM PDT

Microfluidics without Borders: Commercialization Perspectives of High Throughput Applications for Acoustic Droplet Ejection Technology

Presented at: Lab Automation 2017
  • Sr. Director, R&D, Principle Engineer, Labcyte, Inc.
      Dr. Datwani joined Labcyte Inc., in 2007 and is responsible for leading internal research programs and managing the advanced developments for the creation of new products and capabilities for the company in the arena of acoustic droplet ejection. Dr. Datwani has over twenty years of experience directing, managing, inventing and applying cutting edge research and developments in both industry & academia. Prior to Labcyte Inc., Sammy was a Senior Scientist and the Advanced Technologies Group Manager at Eksigent Technologies, LLC (acquired by Danaher Corp.) where he led the technical development for an integrated high performance liquid chromatography on a chip (cHiPLCTM). From 2000 - 2003, Sammy held the position of R&D Engineer in the Advanced Technology Group at Caliper Life Sciences (acquired by Perkin Elmer) and spearheaded the development of the several LabChipTM devices as well as the Library CardTM which married high throughput drug discovery on a microfluidic chip with a high-density reagent storage array. Sammy graduated with honors from The Johns Hopkins University with a B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He holds a M.S. degree from The Columbia University in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Polymer Science. Sammy earned his Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University where his thesis focused both on theory and experiments to gain a fundamental understanding of the adsorption of surfactants, proteins and small molecules to interfaces. Sammy holds several pending and issued patents and has co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed publications in journals and books. Since 2011, Dr. Datwani has held an appointment as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biomedical, Chemical & Materials Engineering at San Jose State University.


    The commercialization of micro and nanofluidic devices has had promise for providing novel solutions to deliver high throughput, more efficient, integrated biological and chemical analysis tools.  This presentation addresses the commercialization perspectives of integrating on the micro and nanoscale acoustic droplet ejection (ADE) for high throughput (HT) applications with mass spectrometry (MS) and gel electrophoresis (GE).

    First highlighted are the physical principles of ADE and the key technologies that enable robust acoustic liquid handling operations—namely the ability to: probe the properties of the fluid; adjust in real-time to account for dynamic surface tension and viscosity variations, determine the acoustic energy required for ejection; and to impart charge on the droplet to aid in droplet transfer.

    Next, we explore the commercialization perspectives for HT applications in different modalities to explore directly acoustically loading samples into MS, enabling true HT screening in a label-free format, and to explore the low volume transfer of proteins in solution into a microfluidic gel device for a GE assay.  For the GE assay, we demonstrate 100 nL per well transfers of free antigen-binding (FAB) fragments in solution; Kd is extracted; and >80% improvement in assay precision and throughput compared to manual operation.

    In conclusion, commercialization perspectives are addressed with these high throughput applications with ADE and the need to integrate “big data” collection to support further HT applications in the development of microfluidic devices.

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