Variation in polydispersity in pump- and pressure-driven micro-droplet generators

Wen Zeng, Ian Jacobi, Songjing Li, Howard A. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The polydispersity of droplets produced in a typical T-junction microfluidic channel under both syringe-pump-driven and pressure-driven flow configurations is measured quantitatively. Both flow systems exhibit high-frequency flow fluctuations that result in an intrinsic polydispersity due to the mechanism of droplet generation. In addition to this intrinsic polydispersity, the syringe-pump-driven device also exhibits low-frequency fluctuations due to mechanical oscillations of the pump, which overwhelm the high-frequency flow fluctuations and produce a signficantly heightened level of polydispersity. The quantitative difference in polydispersity between the two configurations and time-resolved measurements of individual droplet sizes are presented in order to enable the design of better flow control systems for droplet production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115015
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 7 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • droplets
  • fluctuations
  • polydispersity
  • pressure-driven flow
  • syringe-pump-driven flow


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