Recent years have witnessed an increased use of droplet-based microfluidic techniques in a wide variety of chemical and biological assays. Nevertheless, obtaining dynamic data from these platforms has remained challenging, as this often requires reading the same droplets (possibly thousands of them) multiple times over a wide range of intervals (from milliseconds to hours). In this review, we introduce the elemental techniques for the formation and manipulation of microfluidic droplets, together with the most recent developments in these areas. We then discuss a wide range of analytical methods that have been successfully adapted for analyte detection in droplets. Finally, we highlight a diversity of studies where droplet-based microfluidic strategies have enabled the characterization of dynamic systems that would otherwise have remained unexplorable.


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