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A Simple Capillary-based Open Microfluidic Device for Size On-demand High-throughput Droplet/Bubble/Microcapsule Generation

Abstract

We report on an easy-established capillary-based open microfluidic device (COMD) as a simple and robust method for size on-demand generation of monodisperse droplets of various fluidic materials with controllable volume. A device is set up in which a capillary is positioned with its tip close to a flat surface with a precise gap distance in a container. The continuous phase remains static in the container, and the dispersed phase is pumped through the capillary and forms droplets at the exit of the gap. Monodisperse droplets, bubbles and microcapsules of various fluids with diameter of 10-300 μm (picoliter to nanoliter) and generation frequency of 1-1000 Hz are obtained by controlling the gap distance in the range of 5-500 μm. We find that, using the same capillary, the generated droplet size is constant and dominated by the gap distance at low flow rates, and increases with the flow rate at high flow rate. Droplet types can be managed by fluids and surface modification of the capillary and bottom surfaces. High throughput droplet generation is achieved by in-parallel integrating multiple capillaries in one device. Such a COMD is simple and easy-to-build without complex microfabrication requirement; however, is highly robust, flexible and easy-to-operate for size on-demand droplets generation. It offers an opportunity for common laboratories to perform droplet-based assays, and is highly potential for high throughput industrial emulsification applications as well.

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Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 09 May 2018, accepted on 08 Aug 2018 and first published on 08 Aug 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8LC00479J
Citation: Lab Chip, 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    A Simple Capillary-based Open Microfluidic Device for Size On-demand High-throughput Droplet/Bubble/Microcapsule Generation

    L. Mei, M. Jin, S. Xie, Z. Yan, X. Wang, G. Zhou, L. Shui and A. van den Berg, Lab Chip, 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8LC00479J

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