Towards Practical Translation of Acoustically-Driven Microfluidic Devices: Multimodal Modular Individual Addressability of Microarray Plates

L.Y. Yeo
RMIT University,

Keywords: microfluidic devices, microarray plates


Despite considerable advances in microfluidic platforms over the past two decades, the ubiquitous microarray titre plate remains a stalwart for compound screening and biochemical analysis. This can partly be due to the aversion of laboratory practitioners to new technology or protocols, which can often be perceived as unnecessarily complex, even if they are more efficient or cost effective. Alternatively, this may simply be due to the compatibility of existing equipment and methods with the array of ancillary technology such as microplate readers and microscopes that are already available in the laboratory, so as to avoid the need to invest in the infrastructure costs and training resources associated with the procurement of new equipment to accommodate new formats and protocols.To overcome such inertia in the uptake of new technology, we have developed a reconfigurable modular acoustofluidic platform that seamlessly interfaces with, and allows individual addressability of the ubiquitous microarray well plate that is a mainstay of drug development workflows. It is our belief that laboratory practitioners outside the microfluidics community are more open to adopting new technology if these are integrated into existing laboratory formats equipment they are familiar with and have invested heavily in. While addressability of individual wells in a microarray plate using acoustic waves was claimed in recent works (Alhasan et al., 2016; Kurashina et al., 2017), only conceptual proof was provided in both of these papers in which only a single device was interfaced with one well. That the ability to individually address all of the wells on the plate was not shown, let alone on the industry standard 96-well plate format, was clearly due to fundamental limitations in these technologies. We discuss these limitations, and show how they can be circumvented with the proposed platform such that true individual addressability of single wells, or even simultaneous/serial addressability of multiple wells for driving a range of microfluidic operations in the well(s) on demand can be achieved using a novel class of hybrid surface and acoustic waves that have only just been discovered (Rezk et al., 2016). Alhasan L, et al. Rapid Enhancement of Cellular Spheroid Assembly by Acoustically Driven Microcentrifugation. ACS Biomat Sci Eng 2016, 2:1013–1022.Kurashina Y, et al. Cell Agglomeration in the Wells of a 24-Well Plate Using Acoustic Streaming. Lab Chip 2017, 17:876–886. Rezk AR, et al. HYbriD Resonant Acoustics (HYDRA). Adv Mater 2016, 28: 1970–1975.