technology

Watch our "how it works" animated video clip

The working principle in words and pictures

Welcome to the technical page. Here we show you how our technology works in principle.

Our technology is based on an inkjet-like principle. We generate tiny, free-flying droplets from a microfluidic chip (1). Inside this chip (which is part of our dispensing cartridge) your sample cells (2) are stored. The system works as a direct displacement dispenser. Meaning, we can generate a droplet whenever we want to. Experts call this drop-on-demand. We use a microscope objective and a camera to look into the chip, directly at your cells. We take an image from them in the nozzle. The nozzle is the lower part of the chip where droplets are ejected from.

Once we have taken the image, a super-fast image processing algorithm detects all cells in this image. It counts and classifies them along morphological criteria like size and roundness. Then a droplet is generated and all what is inside the nozzle is ejected in this droplet. So we can't control what the droplets contain, but we know it.

To sort the droplets we use a pneumatic shutter system (3). It is located directly underneath the nozzle. When we generate a droplet (4) that contains a single-cell we let this specific droplet pass onto your substrate (5). All droplets being generated that do not contain one cell (void droplets and those with multiple cells) are taken off by the shutter into waste.

The following graphics illustrate this principle.

droplet with one cell

high resolution optics and software algorithm detect a single cell in the nozzle

droplet with a single cell is ejected while pneumatic shutter is closed

droplet with a single cell lands in the dedicated well

droplet with more than one cell

high resolution optics and software algorithm detect more than one cell in the nozzle

droplet with more than one cell is ejected and immediately deflected into waste by pneumatic shutter

droplet without a cell

high resolution optics and software algorithm detect no cell in the nozzle

empty droplet is ejected and immediately deflected into waste by pneumatic shutter