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  • Masahiko Nakamura, Masahiro Matsumoto, Tatsumi Ito, Isao Hidaka, Hirokazu Tatsuta, Yoichi Katsumoto
  • * External authors


  • Sony Corporation


  • Lab on a Chip


  • 2024


Microfluidic device for the high-throughput and selective encapsulation of single target cells

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Droplet-based microfluidic technologies for encapsulating single cells have rapidly evolved into powerful tools for single-cell analysis. In conventional passive single-cell encapsulation techniques, because cells arrive randomly at the droplet generation section, to encapsulate only a single cell with high precision, the average number of cells per droplet has to be decreased by reducing the average frequency at which cells arrive relative to the droplet generation rate. Therefore, the encapsulation efficiency for a given droplet generation rate is very low. Additionally, cell sorting operations are required prior to the encapsulation of target cells for specific cell type analysis. To address these challenges, we developed a cell encapsulation technology with a cell sorting function using a microfluidic chip. The microfluidic chip is equipped with an optical detection section to detect the optical information of cells and a sorting section to encapsulate cells into droplets by controlling a piezo element, enabling active encapsulation of only the single target cells. For a particle population including both targeted and non-targeted particles arriving at an average frequency of up to 6000 particles per s, with an average number of particles per droplet of 0.45, our device maintained a high purity above 97.9% for the single-target-particle droplets and achieved an outstanding throughput, encapsulating up to 2900 single target particles per s. The proposed encapsulation technology surpasses the encapsulation efficiency of conventional techniques, provides high efficiency and flexibility for single-cell research, and shows excellent potential for various applications in single-cell analysis.