7 December 2013 How to fabricate robust microfluidic systems for a dollar
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Since the past decade, the interest towards microfluidic devices has sensibly grown due to the wide variety of multidisciplinary applications. One branch of the microfluidic domain consists in the synthesis of various types of emulsions requested by cosmetic, food and biotechnological industries In particular, monodisperse water-in-oil microemulsion synthetised in microfluidic devices are quickly becoming the new generation of emulsions for precise bead control and high surface area. These microemulsions are generally aqueous bioreactors in the form of droplets from 500 nm to 10 μm in diameter, enclosed in an oil environment. An increasing demand for bigger emulsions has led us to investigate new techniques for fabricating fluidic devices allowing a better control over the final size of the droplets. An easy, cheap, reproducible and fast technology for generating emulsions in the range of 100s μm with high throughout (up to mL/h) is reported. Simply using pipette tips and tubing, an innovative microfluidic device was fabricated, able to synthetise water-in-oil emulsions within the range 50 – 500 _μm and double emulsions. These new emulsions are currently used for the synthesis of highly porous polymers beads from High Internal Phase Emulsion (HIPE). These beads will find high potential in 3D cell culture due to their high porosity (up to 90%) and pore size (from 5 to 30μm).
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Florian Lapierre, Florian Lapierre, Neil R. Cameron, Neil R. Cameron, John Oakeshott, John Oakeshott, Thomas Peat, Thomas Peat, Yonggang Zhu, Yonggang Zhu, "How to fabricate robust microfluidic systems for a dollar", Proc. SPIE 8923, Micro/Nano Materials, Devices, and Systems, 89232Y (7 December 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2033508; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2033508

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