, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 266-273,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 17 Dec 2010

A miniature droplet reactor built on nanoparticle-derived superhydrophobic pedestals

Abstract

The capability to design and modulate materials, shapes, heat transfer, and mass mixing during the process of developing chemical reactors has allowed researchers to explore millions of chemical reactions and assays. However, despite the advantages in engineering array-based microreactors or microfluidic systems, the wetting attachment between solutions of reagents/products and the glass or polymer substrates of containers leads to difficulties in collecting products effectively and preventing channel blockage. Herein we present a miniature droplet reactor which takes advantage of the anti-wetting and low-adhesive properties of nanoparticle-derived superhydrophobic pedestals, allowing aqueous droplets to be manipulated freely but also providing a confined environment for performing a series of aqueous phase chemical reactions on a small scale. Gas- or precipitate-forming reactions can also be performed inside this miniature reactor. Most importantly, reaction products in liquid, solid or gaseous states can be collected effectively, which allows the harvesting of valuable products formed in limited amounts. Such a miniature reactor built on superhydrophobic pedestals provides a new way of performing common chemical reactions and may open the door to the design of next-generation microreaction systems.