Nav: Home

SUTD researchers developed customizable microfluidic nozzles for generating complex emulsions

January 31, 2019

Droplets or emulsions are widely employed in the fields of drug delivery, chemical analysis, biological assays and material synthesis. Emulsions can be created using a microfluidic device that allows generation of droplets of one phase dispersed in an immiscible phase. Unlike bulk emulsification process, microfluidic devices allow for controlled generation of droplets with high monodispersity.

Microfluidic droplet generators are being made by various methods including photolithography, manual assembly of fluidic units and 3D printing. It is challenging to achieve a balance between ease of fabrication of devices and complexity of emulsions produced. Developing a customisable droplet generator that can produce emulsions of varying size and complexity is of great interest. Such devices can be employed for different applications to produce custom-made emulsions. To this end, researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) developed a modular approach to fabricate microfluidic axisymmetric droplet generators with distinct modules of 3D printed fittings, needles and tubes.

A single device was made by co-axially aligning a 3D printed connector and needle secured by elastic tubes. The plug-and-play fabrication of these devices allowed for facile reconfiguration and customisation. Each module of the device can be individually altered, and additional modules can be easily attached to vary the type of emulsions. Droplets of varying diameters can be produced by switching the needles attached to the device, and the researchers have achieved a minimum diameter of 332 ± 10 μm for the needle of standard inner diameter of 60 μm. The devices were extended in serial and parallel directions by using appropriate fittings that produced double emulsions and Janus particles.

"By using simple fittings and low-cost units, we were able to rapidly prototype the device in a plug-and -play way. We demonstrated the customisability of the devices by producing simple and complex emulsions by assembling multiple modules together," said SUTD Assistant Professor Michinao Hashimoto.

This work has been published in RSC Advances, an esteemed journal that encourages high quality multi-disciplinary research. Sindhu Vijayan, a graduate student at SUTD also participated in this research project.
-end-


Singapore University of Technology and Design

Related Droplets Articles:

Airborne viruses live for 45 minutes
Australian scientists from Queensland University of Technology and The University of Queensland have developed a new technique to study how some common disease causing bacteria can spread up to 4m and remain alive in the air for up to 45 minutes.
Helium droplets offer new precision to single-molecule laser measurement
Chemical reactions necessarily involve molecules coming together, and the way they interact can depend on how they are aligned relative to each other.
New theory predicts wetted area of droplets colliding with flat surface
Japanese researchers have succeeded in deriving a theoretical formula that quantitatively predicts the wetting and spreading behavior of droplets that collide with the flat surface of a solid material.
Water is surprisingly ordered on the nanoscale
Researchers from EPFL have shown that the surface of minuscule water drops with a 100 nm size is surprisingly ordered.
Jumping droplets extinguish unpredictable hotspots in electronics
The performance of electronic devices is constrained by their inability to evenly dissipate the waste heat they produce.
Jumping droplets whisk away hotspots in electronics
Engineers have developed a technology to cool hotspots in high-performance electronics using the same physical phenomenon that cleans the wings of cicadas.
Understanding what's happening inside liquid droplets
For most people, the drip, drip, drip of a leaking faucet would be an annoyance.
Understanding breakups
As interest and demand for nanotechnology continues to rise, so will the need for nanoscale printing and spraying, which relies on depositing tiny drops of liquid onto a surface.
Movable microplatform floats on a sea of droplets
A platform floating on tiny droplets, using hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces, could provide precise motion control for optical devices, MEMS and other systems.
New Zealand glowworms' sticky 'fishing lines' use moist, urea droplets to trap prey
The sticky fishing lines produced by New Zealand glowworms to trap their insect prey are spaced with water-absorbent droplets containing urea, according to a study published Dec.

Related Droplets Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#513 Dinosaur Tails
This week: dinosaurs! We're discussing dinosaur tails, bipedalism, paleontology public outreach, dinosaur MOOCs, and other neat dinosaur related things with Dr. Scott Persons from the University of Alberta, who is also the author of the book "Dinosaurs of the Alberta Badlands".