Quantitative nucleic acid amplification tests are of great importance for diagnostics, but current approaches require complex and costly optical setups that limit their nonlaboratory applications. Herein we describe the implementation of a microfluidics platform that can perform binary DNA-amplification-activated droplet sorting. The digital sort-enabled counting (DISCO) platform enables label-free absolute quantification of the nucleic acid. This is achieved by provoking a pH change in droplets through a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) reaction, followed by using sorting by interfacial tension (SIFT) to direct positive and negative droplets to different outlets. With the use of on-chip electrodes at both outlets, we demonstrate that the digital electrical counting of target DNA and RNA can be realized. DISCO is a promising approach for realizing sensitive nucleic acid quantification in point-of-care settings.

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