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Issue 12, 2011
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Microbubble generation in a co-flow device operated in a new regime

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Abstract

A new regime of operation of PDMS-based flow-focusing microfluidic devices is presented. We show that monodisperse microbubbles with diameters below one-tenth of the channel width (here w = 50 μm) can be produced in low viscosity liquids thanks to a strong pressure gradient in the entrance region of the channel. In this new regime bubbles are generated at the tip of a long and stable gas ligament whose diameter, which can be varied by tuning appropriately the gas and liquid flow rates, is substantially smaller than the channel width. Through this procedure the volume of the bubbles formed at the tip of the gas ligament can be varied by more than two orders of magnitude. The experimental results for the bubble diameter db as function of the control parameters are accounted for by a scaling theory, which predicts db/w ∝ (μg/μl)1/12(Qg/Ql)5/12, where μg and μl indicate, respectively, the gas and liquid viscosities and Qg and Ql are the gas and liquid flow rates. As a particularly important application of our results we produce monodisperse bubbles with the appropriate diameter for therapeutic applications (db ≃ 5 μm) and a production rate exceeding 105 Hz.

Graphical abstract: Microbubble generation in a co-flow device operated in a new regime

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Publication details

The article was received on 28 Dec 2010, accepted on 02 Mar 2011 and first published on 23 Mar 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0LC00731E
Citation: Lab Chip, 2011,11, 2023-2029
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    Microbubble generation in a co-flow device operated in a new regime

    E. Castro-Hernández, W. van Hoeve, D. Lohse and J. M. Gordillo, Lab Chip, 2011, 11, 2023
    DOI: 10.1039/C0LC00731E

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