We present an active droplet merging device, which can merge various sizes of micro droplets in different numbers by using pneumatically controlled horizontal PDMS microvalves. The merging part consists of a main and side channels separated by a pillar array. The pillar array structure is contained within a microfuidic channel. The function of the pillar array provides a bypass path to the continuous flow (oil) inside the merging chamber. Droplets are successfully generated within the channel and achieve merging by controlling the selective different numbers and diameters of droplets through varying the flow resistance of main and side channel. In the merging chamber, a droplet will enter and slow down its movement. It will wait and then merge with the sequential droplets. These experiments demonstrate that such a merging device can controllably select and adjust the distance between the different adjacent micro droplets without any generation of sister droplets in the side channel. The device has no desynchronization problems. Thus, it can be applied for efficiently mixing the droplets in various diameters and numbers without changing the structure of the merging chamber. Hence, this device can be a more effective choice when applying microfluidics to chemical and biological applications.
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