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Issue 30, 2013
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Topological microfluidics for flexible micro-cargo concepts

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State-of-the-art microfluidic techniques rely usually on an isotropic carrier fluid, the flow of which is modulated using morphological patterns on the microchannels, or application of external fields. In the present work, we demonstrate that replacing the isotropic fluid by an anisotropic liquid crystal introduces a flexible but versatile approach to guided transport of microscopic cargo in microfluidic devices. We show that topological line defects can be threaded at will through the microfluidic channels and used as a ‘soft rail’ whose position is controlled through easily accessible experimental parameters. Colloid particles and small water droplets, the ‘working horses’ of microfluidics, are trapped and consequently guided by the defect line through the microfluidic device. Furthermore, we demonstrate controlled threading of the defect line at a channel bifurcation. Topological microfluidics introduces a unique platform for targeted delivery of single particles, droplets, or clusters of such entities, paving the way to flexible micro-cargo concepts in microfluidic settings.

Graphical abstract: Topological microfluidics for flexible micro-cargo concepts

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Publication details

The article was received on 07 Mar 2013, accepted on 20 May 2013 and first published on 21 May 2013

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3SM50677K
Soft Matter, 2013,9, 7251-7260
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    Topological microfluidics for flexible micro-cargo concepts

    A. Sengupta, C. Bahr and S. Herminghaus, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 7251
    DOI: 10.1039/C3SM50677K

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