Even though droplet microfluidics has been developed since the early 1980s, the number of applications that have resulted in commercial products is still relatively small. This is partly due to an ongoing maturation and integration of existing methods, but possibly also because of the emergence of new techniques, whose potential has not been fully realized. This review summarizes the currently existing techniques for manipulating droplets in two-phase flow microfluidics. Specifically, very recent developments like the use of acoustic waves, magnetic fields, surface energy wells, and electrostatic traps and rails are discussed. The physical principles are explained, and (potential) advantages and drawbacks of different methods in the sense of versatility, flexibility, tunability and durability are discussed, where possible, per technique and per droplet operation: generation, transport, sorting, coalescence and splitting.
- Two-phase flow