Optical-resonance-assisted generation of super monodisperse microdroplets and microbeads with nanometer precision†
Droplets with predefined sizes have been controllably produced at the tip of a micro-capillary immersed in an external fluid while tracking the high Q-factor whispering gallery modes (WGM). The modes were fitted to a model to give precise real-time size measurement, which was used as a feedback to control the pressure in the capillary and the release of the droplet from the capillary when it reached the target size. In this way a dispersion of highly monodisperse droplets anywhere in the size range from 5 μm to 50 μm were produced. To fabricate solid beads, the droplets were made from a liquid photopolymer and were later polymerized with UV light. The polymerized beads showed long term stability. The diameter of the generated oil droplets and polymerized microbeads could be reproduced with a standard deviation of 1.1 nm and 20 nm, respectively. Overall, the demonstrated method improves the size precision by three and two orders of magnitude for microdroplets and microbeads, respectively, compared to standard production methods such as reported in microfluidics. Encoding of short words and numbers has been demonstrated by producing three beads with predefined sizes. The stored information has been read from the emitted spectrum.