Construction of core–shell microcapsules via focused surface acoustic wave microfluidics†
The ability to construct core–shell microcapsules has the potential to shift the paradigm in the development of new delivery systems for nutrients, cosmetics, and drugs. In this work, we demonstrate an application of focused surface acoustic wave (FSAW) microfluidics to produce microcapsules with a core–shell structure using one or two focused interdigital transducers (FIDTs) on the microfluidic device. Solid particles or liquid microdroplets without any special modification in multiphase laminar flow are driven by the acoustic radiation force arising from the FSAW, and cross the oil/water interface back and forth, which is not only suitable for generation of core–shell microcapsules with solid cores but also used for coating an aqueous microdroplet core with an oil shell. On this basis, more FIDTs can be added to the device to manufacture more layers of microcapsules if needed. Single-layer, two-layer, or even multi-layer microcapsules can be selectively fabricated. This work provides a promising and robust platform to construct core–shell microcapsules via FSAW microfluidics, which are suitable for a wide range of applications.