Microfluidic fabrication of water-in-water (w/w) jets and emulsions


Shum, H. C. ; Varnell, J. ; Weitz, D. A. Microfluidic fabrication of water-in-water (w/w) jets and emulsions. Biomicrofluidics 2012, 6. Copy at http://www.tinyurl.com/m5c4spf
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We demonstrate the generation of water-in-water ( w/w) jets and emulsions by combining droplet microfluidics and aqueous two-phase systems ( ATPS). The application of ATPS in microfluidics has been hampered by the low interfacial tension between typical aqueous phases. The low tension makes it difficult to form w/w droplets with conventional droplet microfluidic approaches. We show that by mechanically perturbing a stable w/w jet, w/w emulsions can be prepared in a controlled and reproducible fashion. We also characterize the encapsulation ability of w/w emulsions and demonstrate that their encapsulation efficiency can be significantly enhanced by inducing formation of precipitates and gels at the w/w interfaces. Our work suggests a biologically and environmentally friendly platform for droplet microfluidics and establishes the potential of w/w droplet microfluidics for encapsulation-related applications. (C) 2012 American Institute of Physics. [doi:10.1063/1.3670365]

Last updated on 08/08/2014