An innovative data processing method for studying nanoparticle formation in droplet microfluidics using X-rays scattering

Abstract

X-ray scattering techniques provide a powerful means of characterizing the formation of nanoparticles in solution. Coupling these techniques to segmented-flow microfluidic devices that offer well-defined environments gives access to in situ time-resolved analysis, excellent reproducibility, and eliminates potential radiation damage. However, analysis of the resulting datasets can be extremely time-consuming, where these comprise frames corresponding to the droplets alone, the continuous phase alone, and to both at their interface. We here describe a robust, low-cost, and versatile droplet microfluidics device and use it to study the formation of magnetite nanoparticles with simultaneous synchrotron SAXS and WAXS. Lateral outlet capillaries facilitate the X-ray analysis and reaction times of between a few seconds and minutes can be accommodated. A two-step data processing method is then described that exploits the unique WAXS signatures of the droplets, continuous phase, and interfacial region to identify the frames corresponding to the droplets. These are then sorted, and the background scattering is subtracted using an automated frame-by-frame approach, allowing the signal from the nanoparticles to be isolated from the raw data. Modeling these data gives quantitative information about the evolution of the sizes and structures of the nanoparticles, in agreement with TEM observations. This versatile platform can be readily employed to study a wide range of dynamic processes in heterogeneous systems.

Graphical abstract: An innovative data processing method for studying nanoparticle formation in droplet microfluidics using X-rays scattering

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
Paper
Submitted
18 Jun 2021
Accepted
13 Oct 2021
First published
13 Oct 2021

Lab Chip, 2021, Advance Article

An innovative data processing method for studying nanoparticle formation in droplet microfluidics using X-rays scattering

D. Radajewski, L. Hunter, X. He, O. Nahi, J. M. Galloway and F. C. Meldrum, Lab Chip, 2021, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D1LC00545F

To request permission to reproduce material from this article, please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

If you are an author contributing to an RSC publication, you do not need to request permission provided correct acknowledgement is given.

If you are the author of this article, you do not need to request permission to reproduce figures and diagrams provided correct acknowledgement is given. If you want to reproduce the whole article in a third-party publication (excluding your thesis/dissertation for which permission is not required) please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity

Spotlight

Advertisements