Regular-sized cell creation in microchannel emulsification by visual microprocessing method

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Abstract

A novel emulsification method was developed for making monodispersed regular-sized cells. Both oil in water (O/W) and water in oil (W/O) emulsion cells were generated by permeating an internal phase into a continuous phase through a silicon microchannel, which was designed and prepared by using semiconductor technology. The microprocessing of O/W (or W/O) emulsion cells was monitored and controlled with a microscope video system. Regular-sized O/W cells were made by a normal hydrophilic microchannel and a glass plate with use of an appropriate surfactant. On the other hand, W/O emulsion cells were made by a hydrophobic microchannel and a glass plate modified with a silane coupler reagent. Regular-sized W/O cells were also obtained; therefore, a suitable combination of organic phase, surfactant, and electrolyte should be carefully selected. There is a possibility for creating artificial biological cells with this method. In the water/triolein and lecithin system, when the amount of oil was decreased on the permeate side, polygon or fiber cell types were created, and each cell contacted its neighbors across a thin oil layer like a biological tissue.