Droplet manipulation inside a microfluidic device for biological applications


Droplet microfluidics is an emerging technology in the fields of cell biology, disease diagnostics, drug discovery, etc. The versatility of droplet microfluidics lies in the ability to generate and manipulate picoliter volume droplets with a high throughput. Droplet manipulation includes fusion, fission, sorting, guiding, trapping, etc. These manipulations find numerous applications such as, phenotyping single cells, determining minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of antibiotics against bacterial strains, generating hydrogels for cell encapsulation, to name a few.

In this project, the student will design and fabricate microfluidic devices to generate, guide, and trap oil in water and water in oil droplets. The effect of parameters such as flow rates, droplet size, trap dimensions, etc. on trapping efficiency will be investigated. The goal is to develop a phase diagram to identify the trapping and non-trapping regions for the entire set of operating parameters. The student will also develop simulations to mimic the droplet trapping process inside a microfluidic device and perform a parametric study for corroborating the experimental results. This is expected to help us use the developed microfluidic design for efficient trapping of cell encapsulated droplets. 

The project will be jointly supervised by Prof. Venkat Gundabala (Guide) and Prof. Ratul Dasgupta (Co-guide).



  1. Teh, S. Y., Lin, R., Hung, L. H., & Lee, A. P. (2008). Droplet microfluidics. Lab on a Chip8(2), 198-220.
  2. Wang, W., Yang, C., & Li, C. M. (2009). On-demand microfluidic droplet trapping and fusion for on-chip static droplet assays. Lab on a Chip9(11), 1504-1506.
  3. S. A. Vanapalli, M. H. Duits, and F. Mugele, (2009) Microfluidics as a functional tool for cell mechanics, Biomicrofluidics 3,12006.
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