Tunable spatial heterogeneity in structure and composition within aqueous microfluidic droplets
Author(s)Hui, Sophia Lee Su; Wang, Pengzhi; Kun Yap, Swee; Hatton, T. Alan; Khan, Saif A.
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In this paper, we demonstrate biphasic microfluidic droplets with broadly tunable internal structures, from simple near-equilibrium drop-in-drop morphologies to complex yet uniform non-equilibrium steady-state structures. The droplets contain an aqueous mixture of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and dextran and are dispensed into an immiscible oil in a microfluidic T-junction device. Above a certain well-defined threshold droplet speed, the inner dextran-rich phase is “stirred” within the outer PEG-rich phase. The stirred polymer mixture is observed to exhibit a near continuum of speed and composition-dependent phase morphologies. There is increasing interest in the use of such aqueous two-phase systems in microfluidic devices for biomolecular applications in a variety of contexts. Our work presents a method to go beyond equilibrium phase morphologies in generating microfluidic “multiple” emulsions and at the same time raises the possibility of biochemical experimentation in benign yet complex biomimetic milieus.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Chemical Engineering; Singapore-MIT Alliance in Research and Technology (SMART)
American Institute of Physics
Hui,Sophia Lee Su, Pengzhi Wang, Swee Kun Yap, T. Alan Hatton, and Saif A. Khan. Tunable Spatial Heterogeneity in Structure and Composition Within Aqueous Microfluidic Droplets. Biomicrofluidics 6, no. 2 (2012): 022005.
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