News Release

OptiDrop: A leap in single-cell analysis

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Device setup.


Device setup.

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Credit: Microsystems & Nanoengineering

A recent study introduces the OptiDrop platform, revolutionizing droplet microfluidics by integrating innovative optical fibers into microfluidic chips. This breakthrough enhances sensitivity for detecting scatter and fluorescence signals, offering rapid and cost-effective insights into genetics, proteins, and metabolites.

Droplet microfluidics revolutionizes single-cell analysis, crucial for genomics, drug discovery, and diagnostics, by partitioning samples into nanoliter droplets for detailed cellular analysis. Yet, its broader adoption is hindered by the complex, costly methods required for analyzing droplets' optical properties. This limitation underscores the urgent need for simpler, cost-effective optical sensing technologies to unlock the full potential of droplet microfluidics in various applications.

A new study (DOI: 10.1038/s41378-024-00665-w) published on 12 March, 2024, in the journal Microsystems & Nanoengineering, unveiled an innovative technology that enables multiplexed fluorescence and scatter detection with unprecedented single-cell resolution, using on-chip fiber optics within droplet microfluidic applications.

The innovative technology behind the OptiDrop platform marks a significant departure from traditional single-cell analysis methods. By incorporating advanced optical fiber technology directly into microfluidic chips, OptiDrop enables on-chip detection of light scatter and fluorescence from droplets. This novel approach allows for precise analysis of cellular components at a level of detail previously considered unachievable, bypassing the need for complex and costly traditional microscopy and high-speed imaging techniques. The platform has been rigorously tested, demonstrating its ability to perform differential expression analysis of cell surface biomarkers, such as major histocompatibility complex proteins. This not only showcases OptiDrop's potential for detecting subtle biological variations but also highlights its capacity for scalable, high-throughput analysis.

Preksha Gupta, lead researcher on the project, emphasized, "The OptiDrop platform marries the flexibility of flow cytometry with droplet microfluidics' power, offering scalable optical sensing solutions that were previously unimaginable in research and diagnostics."

The OptiDrop platform stands as a testament to the potential of combining microfluidic technologies with advanced optical sensing techniques. By offering a versatile, scalable, and affordable solution for single-cell analysis, OptiDrop paves the way for transformative advancements in biomedical research and diagnostics.





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Funding information

We would like to acknowledge the support of Biotechnology Industry Research Council (BIRAC), Biomedical Device and Technology Development (BDTD) grant by Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Scheme for Transformational and advanced Research in Sciences (STARS) grant by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), India for funding support.

About Microsystems & Nanoengineering

Microsystems & Nanoengineering is an online-only, open access international journal devoted to publishing original research results and reviews on all aspects of Micro and Nano Electro Mechanical Systems from fundamental to applied research. The journal is published by Springer Nature in partnership with the Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, supported by the State Key Laboratory of Transducer Technology.

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