Digital droplet infusion

Zecong Fang, Andrew I. Li, Hong Liu, Tingrui Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Infusion pumps have been widely used in clinical settings for the administration of medications and fluids. We present the digital droplet infusion (DDI) device, a low-cost, high-precision digital infusion system, utilizing a microfluidic discretization unit to convert continuous flow into precisely delivered droplet aliquots and a valving unit to control the duration and frequency of flow discretization. The DDI device relies on a distinct capillarity-dominated process of coalescence and pinch-off of droplets for flow digitization, which is monitored by a pair of conductive electrodes located before and after the junction. The digital feedback-controlled flow rate can be employed to adjust a solenoid valve for refined infusion management. With this unique digital microfluidic approach, the DDI technology enables a simple yet powerful infusion system with an ultrahigh resolution of digital droplet transfer volume, as small as 57 nL, which is three orders of magnitude lower than that of clinical standard infusion pumps, as well as a wide range of digitally adjustable infusion rates ranging from 0.1 mL h−1to 10 mL h−1, in addition to an array of programmable infusion profiles and safety features. Its modular design enables fast assembly using only off-the-shelf and 3D-printed components. Overall, benefiting from its simple device architecture and excellent infusion performance, the DDI technology has great potential to become the next-generation clinical standard for drug delivery with its high precision and ultimate portability at a low cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-512
Number of pages11
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 7 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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