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Microfluidic Processing

We use a range of downstream processing methods to manufacture functional particles for healthcare, food and energy applicatons

Solvent Evaporation
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Solvent evaporation is a simple way for producing particles from droplets containing a mixture of polymer(s) and volatile organic solvent.  Such method allows to achieve particle size much smaller than the original droplet size.

We evaporate solvent from droplets to convert them into structured particles. We can also combine solvent evaporation with phase-separation to spatially segregate polymers and produce particles with complex morphologies, such as patchy particles, Janus Particles, golf-ball like particles.

Reference

E.E. Ekanem, S.A. Nabavi, G.T. Vladisavljević, S. Gu, 2015. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 7, 23132.

Ionic Cross Linking
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We use ionic cross-linking to generate hydrogel particles from natural bio-materials, such as chitosan and alginate. We can achieve cross-linking off chip, like shown in the figure, or inside microfluidic device by controlled diffusion of acid from continuous phase into the droplets.

Collaborators: Prof. Roland Zengerle (University of Freigurb)

Reference

D. Mark, S. Haeberle, R. Zengerle, J. Ducree, G.T. Vladisavljević, 2009. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 336, 634 .

Photo-polymerisation
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Photo-polymerisation is based on illuminating mixture of monomer, cross-linker and initiator by UV light which causes the conversion of photo-initiator into a free radical and polymerisation reaction. We use on-the-fly photo-polymerisation in microfluidic devices to cure monomer droplets and convert them in monodisperse particles, like acrylic micro-capsules shown in this image. 

Reference

R. Al Nuumani, G. Bolognesi, G. and G.T. Vladisavljevic, 2018. Langmuir, 34, 11822-11831.

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