Microfluidic production of multiple emulsions and functional microcapsules
Recent advances in microfluidics have enabled the controlled production of multiple-emulsion drops with onion-like topology. The multiple-emulsion drops possess an intrinsic core–shell geometry, which makes them useful as templates to create microcapsules with a solid membrane. High flexibility in the selection of materials and hierarchical order, achieved by microfluidic technologies, has provided versatility in the membrane properties and microcapsule functions. The microcapsules are now designed not just for storage and release of encapsulants but for sensing microenvironments, developing structural colours, and many other uses. This article reviews the current state of the art in the microfluidic-based production of multiple-emulsion drops and functional microcapsules. The three main sections of this paper discuss distinct microfluidic techniques developed for the generation of multiple emulsions, four representative methods used for solid membrane formation, and various applications of functional microcapsules. Finally, we outline the current limitations and future perspectives of microfluidics and microcapsules.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Lab on a Chip Recent Review Articles