We use several microfluidic methods for the production of monodisperse droplets and particles with high level of control over size, shape, composition and surface chemistry for energy, food and healthcare applications.
Glass capillary devices are manufactured by tapering a round glass capillary and align it within a square capillary or a larger round capillary. Glass capillary devices have excellent optical and chemical properties and offer straightforward surface functionalisation, but are difficult to be parallelised for higher production rate of droplets. Our group uses glass capillary devices for the production of functional droplets and particles.
Collaborators: Prof. David Weitz (Harvard University)
R. Al Nuumani, G. Bolognesi, G. and G.T. Vladisavljevic, 2018, Langmuir, 34, 11822-11831
In step emulsification, drops are formed when an interface between two immiscible fluids is subjected to a step change in the height of a microchannel. For instance, a fluid is injected through a long and shallow microchannel into a deep reservoir, “the well”, containing a second immiscible fluid, resulting in curvature imbalance along the interface. Our group uses step emulsification in microfluidic silicon chips to manufacture droplets and particles.
Collaborators: EP Tech, Tsukuba University and National Food Research Institute Tsukuba (Prof. Mitsutoshi Nakajima and Dr Isao Kobayashi)
G.T. Vladisavljević, E.E. Ekanem, Z. Zhang, N. Khalid, I. Kobayashi, I. and M. Nakajima, 2018. Chemical Engineering Journal, 333, 380-391.
Planar (2D) Glass/PDMS Devices
Planar devices can be made out of glass/silicon via etching processes or a polymer (like PDMS and NOA81) via soft- and photo-lithography techniques. We design and produce our bespoke polymer devices by using a microfabrication station for soft- and photo-lithography. We use such devices for droplet/particle fabrication, manipulation and processing.
G. Bolognesi, A. Hargreaves, A.D. Ward, A.K. Kirby, A.K., C.D. Bain, and O. Ces, 2015. RSC Advances, 5, 8114-8121.
Dolomite Telos System
Telos® is a microfluidic platform designed and commercialised by Dolomite Microfluidics for high-throughput microfluidic processes, including emulsion generation, micro-particle production, mixing and microreactions. Our group is using this platform in a research project in collaboration with an industrial partner for the scaling up the microfluidic production of drug-loaded particles.
We use Shirasu porous glass (SPG) membranes (pictured) and Micropore’s microengineered membranes with regular pore spacing to prepare droplets and particles with a controlled size distribution in larger quantities but with the lower degree of droplet size uniformity compared to microfluidic emulsification.
Collaborators: Miyazaki Industrial Technology Centre and Micropore Technologies.
G.T. Vladisavljević, 2019, In: Current Trends and Future Developments on (Bio-) Membranes: Membrane Processes in the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnological Field. Eds. Basile, A. and Charcosset, C. (Elsevier Inc: Amsterdam), Chapter 7, 167-222.