We present a microfluidic device that enables high throughput production of relatively monodisperse emulsion drops while controlling the average size. The device consists of a two-dimensional array of regularly-spaced posts. Large drops of a highly polydisperse crude emulsion are input into the device and are successively split by the posts, ultimately yielding a finer emulsion consisting of smaller, and much more monodisperse drops. The size distribution of the resultant emulsion depends only weakly on the viscosities of the input fluids and allows fluids of very high viscosities to be used. The average size and polydispersity of the drops depend strongly on the device geometry enabling both control and optimization. We use this device to produce drops of a highly viscous monomer solution and subsequently solidify them into polymeric microparticles. The production rate of these devices is similar to that achieved by membrane emulsification techniques, yet the control over the drop size is superior; thus these post-array microfluidic devices are potentially useful for industrial applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering