There has been an increasing drive toward miniaturizing and accelerating experiments with droplet-based microfluidics across the chemical disciplines. Current applications take advantage of the numerous techniques for manipulating nano- to femtoliter droplets within microfluidic devices. To expand the range of possible applications, we have developed a method for compartmentalizing pure compounds within droplets, at a gradient of concentrations, starting from chemical mixtures. In this technique, a mixture is injected into an ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) system, and droplets are generated from the LC output at a frequency high enough to fraction each compound into ∼105 droplets, compartmentalizing pure compounds into a sequence of droplets with a range of concentrations spanning 2-3 orders of magnitude. Here we used fluorescent dyes to quantify the concentration profile of the droplet collections, and to demonstrate the correspondence between the concentration profile of the droplets and the compound elution profile monitored with a UV absorbance detector, allowing the use of compounds that are not fluorescently labeled but show UV absorbance. Hence this technique is applicable to a wide variety of applications that require both compound purity and the ability to probe a variety of concentrations, such as drug screening and titrations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry