We present a microfluidic approach for the controlled encapsulation of individual gas bubbles in micrometer-diameter aqueous droplets with high gas volume fractions and demonstrate this approach to making a liquid shell, which serves as a template for the synthesis of hollow inorganic particles. In particular, we find that an increase in the viscosity of the aqueous phase facilitates the encapsulation of individual gas bubbles in an aqueous droplet and allows control of the thickness of a thin aqueous shell. Furthermore, because such droplets contain a finite amount of water, uncontrolled hydrolysis reactions between reactive inorganic precursors and bulk water can be avoided. We demonstrate this approach by introducing reactive inorganic precursors, such as silane and titanium butoxide, for sol-gel reactions downstream from the formation of the bubble in a droplet and consequently fabricate hollow particles of silica or titania in one continuous flow process. These approaches provide a route to controlling double-emulsion-type gas-liquid microstructures and offer a new fabrication method for thin-shell-covered microbubbles and hollow microparticles.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces