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.
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.
For instance, we developed a microfluidic platform for the synthesis, characterisation and manipulation of ultralow interfacial tension oil-in-water droplet. The platform consisted of a glass (Dolomite) flow focusing junction device (see top figure) for the production of the droplets and a downstream PDMS device for the characterisation and optical manipulation of the droplets.
We also developed single Psi-junction devices (see middle figure) for the synthesis of liposomes (see bottom figure) and the solute-driven manipulation of particles.
N. Singh et al.Composite Norland Optical Adhesive (NOA)/silicon flow focusing devices for colloidal particle manipulation and synthesis. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 2022, 652,129808.
Glass Capillary Devices
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.
Such devices were used for the production of multi-functional polymer particles, such as Janus porous magnetic particles, core-shells microparticles with embedded titanium dioxide nanoparticles and/or encapsulated phase-change materials, drug-loaded microparticles with user-controlled morphologies. Such particles can be used for drug delivery, thermal energy storage, water decontamination, flagrance storage.
Collaborators: Dr Goran Vladisavljevic (Loughborough University)
Z. Zhang et al., Monodispersed Sirolimus-Loaded PLGA Microspheres with a Controlled Degree of Drug–Polymer Phase Separation for Drug-Coated Implantable Medical Devices and Subcutaneous Injection, ACS Appl. Bio Mater. 2022, 5, 3766–3777
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