Accessible, fast and easy fabrication of hydrophilic-in-hydrophobic microdroplet arrays

Arianna Toppi, Martin Dufva*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Microdroplet arrays (MDAs) are powerful tools for digital immunoassays, high-throughput screening and single cell analysis. However, MDAs are usually produced with cleanroom processes, which are associated with high costs and low availability. Furthermore, in order to obtain robust and stable MDAs based on hydrophilic spots surrounded by a hydrophobic background, the chemistry must be strictly controlled, which is challenging using shared equipment. Here, we developed a new method to fabricate MDA substrates independently from the cleanroom. A small and low-cost in-house built system to collimate the light source was assembled for photopatterning a negative resist, and spots with diameters down to 4 μm were obtained, with only 3% to 5% spot-to-spot variation across the same sample and high batch-to-batch reproducibility. The use of a negative photoresist enabled the formation of a hydrophobic coating in solution which yielded high-quality MDAs. The feasibility for carrying out digital assays was demonstrated by measuring anti-Tau antibody in sample buffers containing bovine serum albumin, with no noticeable surface fouling. The reported, robust, cost-effective, and fast process could hence lower the threshold to fabricate and use MDAs for digital immunoassays and other microcompartmentalization-based applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0263282
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume17
Issue number2
Number of pages14
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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