Digi.Bio harnesses the power of Digital Microfluidics to rapidly and precisely manipulate droplets on a microscale. This technology is based on electrowetting (EWOD), a technique of microfluidics which allows control of fluid flow and shape using electrical signals applied over a planar electrode array (A).
(A) Simplified Diagram of the Biochip Configuration.
By applying an electric potential over one of the electrodes, an electrical field is generated in the thin dielectric insulator that is present between the liquid and the electrode. Effectively, this results in an electrical force at the droplet interface, which causes the liquid to cover the activated electrode (B). Due to this electrowetting effect, the liquids – trapped in a hydrophobic system – can be manipulated on the microscale in various ways.
(B) Droplet moving in response to changing potential over electrode array.
The large number of manipulation possibilities enable the automated execution of complex biological protocols. Together with integration of thermal control, purification and optical detection, DMF enables full control over the droplet micro-reactors.
A key feature of EWOD technology compared to other droplet microfluidic technologies is the possibility to massively parallelize operations by manipulating a high number of individual droplets depending on microfluidic chip geometries. Moreover, the absence of pumping mechanisms allows for miniaturization of control systems and replacement of otherwise expensive pumps with electronics.