Dynamics of molecular transport by surfactants in emulsions
We consider the dynamics of equilibration of the chemical potential of a fluorophore in a monodisperse emulsion containing droplets with two initially different concentrations of the fluorophore. Although the exchange mechanism involves a single timescale at the droplet (microscopic) level, the organisation of the droplets determines the exchange dynamics at the population (macroscopic) level. The micelle concentration in the continuous phase and the chemistry of the fluorophore control the microscopic exchange rate while the disorder of the initial condition determines the power-law of the long timescale, recovered in a minimal analytical model. We also show here that an additive in the droplet such as Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) acts on the microscopic exchange rate and slows down the exchange process by increasing the solubility of the fluorophore in the dispersed phase rather than by creating a viscoelastic layer at the droplet interface.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Soft matter principles of microfluidics.