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Applications - General

1.1 Will my cells work with your systems?

In most cases, yes, your cells will work with the system. Whether a cell is compatible or not is dependent on many things such as the size and fragility of the cells. Please contact our applications team for a detailed list of cells that have been trialled in the RNA-Seq system.

1.2 What size cells can be used in your systems?

The droplet junction size of the chip tends to dictate the size cells that can enter the system. We advise that cells are half the size of the junction, to avoid any sheering of cells and blockages.

1.3 Can I use a very small sample of cells?

The µEncapsulator1 system allows for samples of cells as small as 100 µL.

1.4 What concentration of cells/beads do you need to run the applications?

Cells and beads are advised to be used at a concentration of 300 per µl.

1.5 Do you have a microfluidics chip capable of sorting droplets or large cells based on fluorescence?

Currently the most practical way of doing this is making small double emulsion droplets (an aqueous droplet in an oil shell, with an aqueous continuous phase), that can be sorted on a conventional FACS (

1.6 What happens if you get gelled agarose in the chip?

To get this out, you would have had to put the chip in a beaker of boiling water and then flush the chip through.

1.7 Are there any publications that show your products in use?

Yes, please see the “Applications” tabs of the specific Product pages.

1.8 Do you sell beads/buffers/reagent kits?

At present, we do not sell beads.

1.9 Do you sell fluorinated oil and fluorinated surfactants?

Yes, we sell the Picosurf range of products.

1.10 What oil should I be using?
  • Pico-Surf™ 1 (In Novec7500)- Great for PCR. Stable, chemically inert droplets for PCR.
  • BioRad Droplet Generation Oil For EvaGreen – Suitable for RNA-Seq applications
1.11 What is PicoSurf™?

Pico-Surf™ surfactants are biocompatible specialized chemical solutions. They contain a proprietary surfactant in a fluorocarbon carrier oil and are ideal for generation of robust and stable droplets. The surfactant acts as an interface stabilization agent that enables stability of the droplets under a wide range of temperature and biological conditions as well as allowing droplets to be stored for several weeks in suitable conditions.

1.12 Do you have a list of cell types that Pico-Surf has been used with?

Pico-Surf 1 5% in Novec 7500 has been successfully used with:
• Mouse hybridoma
• Mouse B-cells
• Human B-cells
• Human T-cells
• Jurkat cells

1.13 Why are there different chips for RNA-seq compared to µEncapsulator (T/B cell studies)?

This is because different types of beads are used in each application. RNA-Seq requires beads which are barcoded and at present are a size of 30-50µm. These beads therefore only run in a 100µm chip such as the RNA-Seq chip. B and T cell studies require beads which don’t have a barcode and therefore are a size of 10-20µm, which are able to run in the µEncapsulator 30/50µm chip.

1.14 What range of droplet sizes can you make on one chip?

Typically 20% larger or smaller than the junction size (this is achieved by varying the pump pressure/flow rate).

1.15 What droplet sizes should you be making for each application?

For the RNA-Seq system we make droplets around 88um and for the uEncapsulator we typically make 50um droplets (using a 50um chip). This can be adjusted, as some customers may have a small bead and small cell, so the size of the droplet can be decreased, using a different size chip.

1.16 How long are droplets stable for?

Around a week at room temperature.

1.17 Will the Dolomite Bio systems carry out downstream processes such as PCR/Sequencing?

No, the Dolomite Bio systems provide a solution for encapsulating single cells into droplets with/without beads. The protocol ends with a set of beads with mRNA attached, ready for downstream processing.

1.18 Can you change buffers and reagents that are used in the system?

Yes, the system is flexible depending on your application

1.19 Are our systems compatible with Illumina sequencers?


1.20 What is the maximum frame rate that you can capture per second?


1.21 What is the minimum exposure time on the microscope?


Applications – RNA-Seq

2.1 What is the recommended concentrations of beads/cells in the RNA-Seq system?

The concentration we advise (300 per µl) reduces the chance of doublets of either a cell or bead. The system can be manipulated to higher concentrations to increase the chance of 1 bead and cell per droplet.

2.2 What is the capture efficiency of beads and cells?

This is dependent on the concentration of the beads and cells you are using, but when using our advised concentrations, the capture efficiency is 1/20 for both beads and cells. Meaning that 1/400 droplets contains a bead and a cell.

2.3 What is a sample loop?
  • A sample loop is used in the RNA-Seq system to efficiently flow beads into the chip. It is a 10m length of 0.25mm internal diameter tubing, which is coiled together into a loop, and has a total internal volume of 500 µL. The idea of this is to ensure that the beads are evenly distributed inside the sample loop, and pressure can then be applied to sweep the beads along, into the droplet junction.
  • This method minimises blockages that are caused by the current beads used by Macosko et al. The beads are also easily damaged, very dense and very sticky, so the use of a sample loop prevents any harsh agitation that can cause damage to the beads and separates them properly, to avoid doublets.
  • It allows for an even distribution and flow of beads throughout the run, whereas when using other methods of injection, due to the high density of the beads, they are very prone to settling out of solution, clumping, and therefore not flowing well through a microfluidic system.
2.4 How do you load beads into the sample loop?

The beads are prepared at the correct concentration and then loaded into a 1ml luer lok syringe. The beads are loaded into the loop via a luer lok syringe fitting. It is very important to make sure the beads do not settle to the bottom of the syringe while loading, so tilting back and forth by 180 degree movements of the syringe while loading, prevents this.

2.5 Why can't I run the RNA-Seq protocol in the µEncapsulator?

This is due to two main reasons:

1) The junction size at present on the µEncapsulator. The RNA-Seq system uses a 100µm chip, and the beads mentioned in the Macosko et al paper. These beads vary in size between 30-50µm, so are compatible with the RNA-Seq chip as their size is able to flow through the junction. However, the µEncapsulator has a junction size of either 15µm, 30µm or 50µm. This means that the beads are the size of the largest junction size, and wouldn’t flow through, without blocking.

2) The density of the beads used in the RNA Seq process is relatively high and therefore the use of the sample loop described above is the most appropriate method of introduction (rather than loading into the µEncapsulator Reservoir Chip).

2.6 How much oil/cells/beads do you consume in one standard scRNA-Seq run?

500ul beads, 500ul cells and 2.5ml oil (for 12.5min run and highest recommended flow rates)

2.7 How many single cell libraries can you make per hour?

25,200 per hour (at what concentration does this occur? 1/20 for cells and beads and at the highest recommended flow rates)

Applications - μEncapsulator

3.1 Can you have any temperature control over the μEncapsulator?

Yes, using a TCU-100 you can control the temperature of the chip/uEncapsulator between 1 and 100 degrees Celsius

3.2 How many cells meet a bead in the droplet on the μEncapsulator?

This depends on the concentration but typically 80-100% of cells can be captured (dependent on if the customer is ok with bead doublets).

Purchasing, installation and post-sale support

4.1 Do you provide installation and training?

Yes, installation and training can be (and typically for all system purchases, will be) included in the quotation. Please check your quotation.

4.2 Why do I need/what is installation and training?

Installation and training involves a specialist from the Dolomite Bio team visiting your institute to firstly install (set up and test performance of) the system. It also includes dedicated training of you and your colleagues, where we can help you understand the system, how to set it up and give guidance on your application. This often proves essential for users who have not used a microfluidic platform or are unfamiliar with the application and its set up.

4.3 How quickly do I get my installation and training?

Typically 2-4 weeks from delivery date

4.4 How do I place an order?

If you already have a quote, please email your purchase order to (Dolomite Bio is a brand of Blacktrace). If you would like a quote, please visit Request a Quote.

4.5 What if I have a problem?

If you run into any problems with the system, please contact our support team at

4.6 How do I get software updates?

The latest version of FCC is downloadable - Please contact


5.1 What is the lifetime of the chip?

The main causes of a chip being unusable are blockages and degrading the coating. It is therefore important to clean the chip as detailed in the protocols, and also to ensure that the environment is kept as clean as possible to avoid fibres getting into the chip. For this reason the chip lifetime varies between users but can be used and reused many times

5.2 How do I clean my system/chips?

Normally the chips and system are cleaned by flushing through with 1% detergent, acetone and then air (to dry the system/chip).

5.3 How do I know what products/consumables/accessories I need?

We are able to advise you and produce system quotes on products if you are unsure of what you need to run your application. Please contact us.

5.4 Can we integrate your chip with our (3rd party) pumps?

We don’t recommend it as there are typically integration problems and issues with inferior pumps.

We will not be able to offer support for these types of systems.

Product demonstration/workshops

6.1 How can I see your products?

If you are looking to see the products live and running, we regularly run workshops in many countries around the world.

6.2 When is the next workshop in my area?

Keep up-to-date with workshops being run near you by visiting the Workshops page.

Dolomite Bio

7.1 What is the difference between Dolomite and Dolomite Bio?

Dolomite provides microfluidic components, such as pumps, chips and other accessories, which can be used for various different applications or function as microfluidic system solutions.

Dolomite Bio is focused on developing and selling products, typically complete systems and consumables to biologists. Many of these products are focussed on specific biological technologies such as Single Cell RNA Seq. Some of these products contain microfluidics but this is not the focus of Dolomite Bio.

7.2 Do you have any job vacancies at Dolomite Bio?

Yes, vacancies are updated regularly on our Careers