Laura AdamsI am a condensed matter physicist who enjoys playing with new materials, physics toys, order and disorder, and, if lucky, new states of matter. You can find my personal website here. Currently I am happily inventing new complex materials that are sources of fascinating physical phenomena using novel microfluidic techniques.
Double Emulsions with Multiple Different Inner Drops
We have developed an emulsification technique that encapsulates two different inner drops inside an oil drop using glass capillary devices with a dual bore injection tube. These devices have been tested with several materials (dye-containing water, tetraethylorthosilicate, ammonia hydroxide, complex mixtures of triglycerides) and have the potential for general applicability. This emulsification technique can produce not only a select number of two different inner drops, but a wide variety of configurations, simply by controllably changing the flow rates of the inner fluids and the flow rate of the middle phase. This technique opens the door for new opportunities in performing chemical reactions inside of drops to making drops with novel properties.
Topological Double Emulsions
Characteristics of topology can be generated inside drops with at least two different sizes of inner drops using multi-bore capillary microfluidic devices. These topological double emulsions are a result of confinement between smaller drops and a larger central drop that are contained in an immiscible fluid.
Topological double emulsions can be useful for sequential release of different actives, such as drugs, cosmetics, growth hormones for tissue engineering, or surfactants for oil recovery. They are also useful for studying the behavior of ring networks provided that interacting smaller drops are used such as nonlinear chemical oscillators.
Stable non-spherical double emulsions with ultra-thin shells and with different components can be produced in large quantities using microfluidics. Having a non-spherical shape means these double emulsions can travel in fluid streams differently than their spherical counterparts, release their cargo and pack together differently. The ability to compartmentalize different fluids in the same container also makes these useful for a wide variety of applications. We can exquisitely control the size and number of compartments.