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Issue 4, 2015
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Step-emulsification in a microfluidic device

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We present a comprehensive study of the step-emulsification process for high-throughput production of colloidal monodisperse droplets. The ‘microfluidic step emulsifier’ combines a shallow microchannel operating with two co-flowing immiscible fluids and an abrupt (step-like) opening to a deep and wide reservoir. Based on Hele-Shaw hydrodynamics, we determine the quasi-static shape of the fluid interface prior to transition to oscillatory step-emulsification at low capillary numbers. The theoretically derived transition threshold yields an excellent agreement with experimental data. A closed-form expression for the size of the droplets generated in the step-emulsification regime and derived using geometric arguments also shows a very good agreement with the experiment.

Graphical abstract: Step-emulsification in a microfluidic device

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Article information

30 Oct 2014
26 Nov 2014
First published
27 Nov 2014

Lab Chip, 2015,15, 1023-1031
Article type

Step-emulsification in a microfluidic device

Z. Li, A. M. Leshansky, L. M. Pismen and P. Tabeling, Lab Chip, 2015, 15, 1023
DOI: 10.1039/C4LC01289E

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