No Access Submitted: 29 July 2018 Accepted: 27 April 2019 Published Online: 21 May 2019
Review of Scientific Instruments 90, 055109 (2019);
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  • Jamie L. Y. Wu (巫柳依)
  • Friedjof Tellkamp
  • Mazdak Khajehpour
  • Wesley D. Robertson
  • R. J. Dwayne Miller
Rapid mixing of aqueous solutions is a crucial first step to study the kinetics of fast biochemical reactions with high temporal resolution. Remarkable progress toward this goal has been made through the development of advanced stopped-flow mixing techniques resulting in reduced dead times, and thereby extending reaction monitoring capabilities to numerous biochemical systems. Concurrently, piezoelectric actuators for through-space liquid droplet sample delivery have also been applied in several experimental systems, providing discrete picoliter sample volume delivery and precision sample deposition onto a surface, free of confinement within microfluidic devices, tubing, or other physical constraints. Here, we characterize the inertial mixing kinetics of two aqueous droplets (130 pl) produced by piezoelectric-actuated pipettes, following droplet collision in free space and deposition on a surface in a proof of principle experiment. A time-resolved fluorescence system was developed to monitor the mixing and fluorescence quenching of 5-carboxytetramethylrhodamine (5-Tamra) and N-Bromosuccinimide, which we show to occur in less than 10 ms. In this respect, this methodology is unique in that it offers millisecond mixing capabilities for very small quantities of discrete sample volumes. Furthermore, the use of discrete droplets for sample delivery and mixing in free space provides potential advantages, including the elimination of the requirement for a physical construction as with microfluidic systems, and thereby makes possible and extends the experimental capabilities of many systems.
This work was supported by the Max Planck Society. We would like to thank Jessica Besaw and William Stuart for their help in the assembly and testing of the Microdrop autopipette system.
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