Secondment to the University of Freiburg


Yu-Kai Lai, the NaMeS PhD student, participated in the secondment at the University of Freiburg. Professor Roland Zengerle’s lab has strong expertise concerning microfabrication and centrifugal microfluidics. The main objective of the secondment was to carry out a project that involved the design a cartridge for rapid and monodisperse emulsion generation. The design of the cartridge had to meet the following goals:

  • Disposable so it won’t contaminate a sensitive biological sample.
  • Compatible with standard 8-tube strip.
  • Work on centrifuge system, so no specialized microfluidic instrument is needed.
  • Minimal manual handling in order to reduce manual error.
  • Able to perform digital droplet PCR (ddPCR).

To adapt an 8-tube strip with centrifugal microfluidic require intensive calculation as each tube has different radial position. Also, user-friendly handling is the main consideration in this project. The study aimed to be as close as possible to real laboratory experiments.

Yu-Kai Lai designed and manufactured a cartridge that consists of 8 independent functional droplet generator, which scales up the throughput up to 16 times as two cartridges can be placed onto a centrifuge rotor per run. He has done characterizing the cartridge by testing the performance of droplet generation. The cartridge is able to generate 1.08×106 droplets per cartridge in 10 min.

The upscaling of emulsification and ease of handling is a trend in recent years as ddPCR is getting popular among diagnostics in rare target research. Yu-Kai Lai would continue working on tool design which serves great convenience for researchers in the biological field.


7 Oct.2019 - 6 Apr. 2021


Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany


Yu-Kai Lai

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 711859.