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On-chip density-based sorting of supercooled droplets and frozen droplets in continuous flow

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Abstract

The freezing of supercooled water to ice and the materials which catalyse this process are of fundamental interest to a wide range of fields. At present, our ability to control, predict or monitor ice formation processes is poor. The isolation and characterisation of frozen droplets from supercooled liquid droplets would provide a means of improving our understanding and control of these processes. Here, we have developed a microfluidic platform for the continuous flow separation of frozen from unfrozen picolitre droplets based on differences in their density, thus allowing the sorting of ice crystals and supercooled water droplets into different outlet channels with 94 ± 2% efficiency. This will, in future, facilitate downstream or off-chip processing of the frozen and unfrozen populations, which could include the analysis and characterisation of ice-active materials or the selection of droplets with a particular ice-nucleating activity.

Graphical abstract: On-chip density-based sorting of supercooled droplets and frozen droplets in continuous flow

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
06 Jul 2020
Accepted
13 Sep 2020
First published
21 Sep 2020

This article is Open Access

Lab Chip, 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Communication

On-chip density-based sorting of supercooled droplets and frozen droplets in continuous flow

G. C. E. Porter, S. N. F. Sikora, J. Shim, B. J. Murray and M. D. Tarn, Lab Chip, 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0LC00690D

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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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