Traffic of pairs of drops in microfluidic ladder networks with fore-aft structural asymmetry

Jeevan Maddala, William S. Wang, Siva A. Vanapalli, Raghunathan Rengaswamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


We investigate the dynamics of pairs of drops in microfluidic ladder networks with slanted bypasses, which break the fore-aft structural symmetry of the network. Our analytical results indicate that unlike symmetric ladder networks, structural asymmetry introduced by a single slanted bypass can be used to modulate the relative drop spacing, enabling them to contract, synchronize, expand, or even flip at the ladder exit. Our experiments confirm all these behaviors predicted by theory. Numerical analysis further shows that while ladder networks containing several identical bypasses are limited to nearly linear transformation of input delay between drops, combination of forward and backward slanted bypasses can cause significant nonlinear transformation enabling coding and decoding of input delays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalMicrofluidics and Nanofluidics
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013



  • Droplet spacing
  • Microfluidic networks
  • Non-linear dynamics
  • Passive control

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