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Multiple emulsion formation from controllable drop pairs in microfluidics

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Abstract

A novel and reliable approach is developed for generating highly controlled multiple emulsions from controllable drop pairs in microfluidics. Drop pairs are accurately generated by drop-triggered drop formation and precise drop-pairing, and then one drop completely engulfs the other immiscible drop to form a multiple emulsion by adjusting their interfacial energies. This approach successfully avoids the complex sequential emulsifications and shows great stability and controllable flexibility. In addition, our strategy for drop-pairing is so reliable that it allows long-term operation without any misorder at all. Importantly, the proposed method of drop-pairing and multiple emulsion formation provides an innovative platform to precisely manipulate small volumes of fluids, which is of great value for exploiting novel microfluidics.

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Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21136006, 21076127) and the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University (IRT1163).

Author information

Correspondence to Liang-Yin Chu.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Two supplementary movies showing the wetting-induced formation of O/W/O double emulsions and O/W/O/O triple emulsions from controllable drop pairs. (MOV 2681 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (MOV 3327 kb)

Two supplementary movies showing the wetting-induced formation of O/W/O double emulsions and O/W/O/O triple emulsions from controllable drop pairs. (MOV 2681 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (MOV 3327 kb)

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Deng, N., Mou, C., Wang, W. et al. Multiple emulsion formation from controllable drop pairs in microfluidics. Microfluid Nanofluid 17, 967–972 (2014) doi:10.1007/s10404-014-1381-3

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Keywords

  • Multiple emulsions
  • Drop-pairing
  • Microfluidics
  • Drop-engulfing-drop
  • Interfaces