Design of microfluidic channel geometries for the control of droplet volume, chemical concentration, and sorting
Passive microfluidic channel geometries for control of droplet fission, fusion and sorting are designed, fabricated, and tested. In droplet fission, the inlet width of the bifurcating junction is used to control the range of breakable droplet sizes and the relative resistances of the daughter channels were used to control the volume of the daughter droplets. Droplet fission is shown to produce concentration differences in the daughter droplets generated from a primary drop with an incompletely mixed chemical gradient, and for droplets in each of the bifurcated channels, droplets were found to be monodispersed with a less than 2% variation in size. Droplet fusion is demonstrated using a flow rectifying design that can fuse multiple droplets of same or different sizes generated at various frequencies. Droplet sorting is achieved using a bifurcating flow design that allows droplets to be separated base on their sizes by controlling the widths of the daughter channels. Using this sorting design, submicron satellite droplets are separated from the larger droplets.