Study of the geometry in a 3D flow-focusing device

  • Elena Castro-Hernández
  • Maarten P. Kok
  • Michel Versluis
  • David Fernandez Rivas
Research Paper

Abstract

We present a numerical and experimental study on a non-planar three-dimensional design of a microfluidic flow-focusing device for the well-controlled generation of monodisperse micron-sized droplets. Three relevant geometric parameters were identified: the distance between the inner inlet channel and the outlet channel, the width of the outlet channel, and its length. Simulation data extracted from a full parameter study and finite element simulations yielded four optimum designs that were then fabricated using soft lithography techniques. Under the predicted operating conditions, micro-droplets of a size of \({\sim}1\,\upmu \text {m}\) in diameter are obtained from a channel \(50\,\upmu \text {m}\) in width. This work represents an important breakthrough in the practical use of flow-focusing devices delivering a ratio of constriction to droplet size of 50 times, with the advantage of reduced clogging of the micro-channel, greatly improving the control and reliability of the device.

Keywords

Flow-focusing Microfluidics Jet Micro-droplets 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The fabrication and design of the microfluidic devices were possible with the advice and assistance of S. Schlautman and H.S. Rho. The authors are grateful to G. Lajoinie for his valuable assistance during the setup preparation. We also would like to acknowledge the useful comments of Prof. J. M. Gordillo during the design phase. This work has been partially financed with a grant from the V Plan Propio de Investigación of the University of Seville, Project TEP-5984 from Consejería de Economía, Innovación, Ciencia y Empleo and NanoNextNL, a micro- and nanotechnology consortium of the Government of the Netherlands and 130 partners.

References

  1. Anderson JR, Chiu DT, Wu H, Schueller OJ, Whitesides GM (2000) Fabrication of microfluidic systems in poly (dimethylsiloxane). Electrophoresis 21:27–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anna SL, Bontoux N, Stone HA (2003) Formation of dispersions using flow focusing in microchannels. Appl Phys Lett 82:364–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carlier J, Arscott S, Thomy V, Fourrier JC, Caron F, Camart JC, Druon C, Tabourier P (2004) Integrated microfluidics based on multi-layered SU-8 for mass spectrometry analysis. Institute of Physics Publishing, BristolGoogle Scholar
  4. Castro-Hernández E, Gundabala V, Fernández-Nieves A, Gordillo JM (2009) Scaling the drop size in coflow experiments. New J Phys 11(075):021Google Scholar
  5. Castro-Hernández E, Campo-Cortés F, Gordillo JM (2012) Slender-body theory for the generation of micrometre-sized emulsions through tip streaming. J Fluid Mech 698:423–445CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  6. Chiu YJ, Cho SH, Mei Z, Lien V, Wu TF, Lo YH (2013) Universally applicable three-dimensional hydrodynamic microfluidic flow focusing. Lab Chip 13:1803–1809CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cubaud T, Mason TG (2008) Capillary threads and viscous droplets in square microchannels. Phys Fluids 20(5):053,302CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  8. Dhanaliwala AH, Chen JL, Wang S, Hossack JA (2012) Liquid flooded flow-focusing microfluidic device for in situ generation of monodisperse microbubbles. Microfluid Nanofluid 14(3–4):457–467Google Scholar
  9. Engl W, Backov R, Panizza P (2008) Controlled production of emulsions and particles by milli- and microfluidic techniques. Curr Opin Colloid Interface Sci 13(4):206–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Frankowski M, Theisen J, Kummrow A, Simon P, Ragusch H, Bock N, Schmidt M, Neukammer J (2013) Microflow cytometers with integrated hydrodynamic focusing. Sensors 13(4):4674–4693CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gañán-Calvo AM (1998) Generation of steady liquid microthreads and micron-sized monodisperse sprays in gas streams. Phys Rev Lett 80:285–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Garstecki P, Fuerstman MJ, Whitesides GM (2005) Nonlinear dynamics of a flow-focusing bubble generator: an inverted dripping faucet. Phys Rev Lett 94(23):234,502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gijsbertsen-Abrahamse A (2004) Status of cross-flow membrane emulsification and outlook for industrial application. J Membr Sci 230(1–2):149–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Golden JP, Kim JS, Erickson JS, Hilliard LR, Howell PB, Anderson GP, Nasir M, Ligler FS (2009) Multi-wavelength microflow cytometer using groove-generated sheath flow. Lab Chip 9(13):1942–1950CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gordillo JM, Sevilla A, Campo-Cortés F (2014) Global stability of stretched jets: conditions for the generation of monodisperse micro-emulsions using coflows. J Fluid Mech 738:335–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hardy BS, Uechi K, Zhen J, Pirouz Kavehpour H (2009) The deformation of flexible PDMS microchannels under a pressure driven flow. Lab Chip 9(7):935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lee W, Walker LM, Anna SL (2009) Role of geometry and fluid properties in droplet and thread formation processes in planar flow focusing. Phys Fluids 21(3):032,103CrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  18. Marín AG, Campo-Cortés F, Gordillo JM (2009) Generation of micron-sized drops and bubbles through viscous coflows. Colloids Surf A Physicochem Eng Asp 344:2–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nisisako T, Torii T (2008) Microfluidic large-scale integration on a chip for mass production of monodisperse droplets and particles. Lab Chip 8(2):287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Paiè P, Bragheri F, Vazquez RM, Osellame R (2014) Straightforward 3D hydrodynamic focusing in femtosecond laser fabricated microfluidic channels. Lab Chip 14(11):1826CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rosenauer M, Buchegger W, Finoulst I, Verhaert P, Vellekoop M (2011) Miniaturized flow cytometer with 3d hydrodynamic particle focusing and integrated optical elements applying silicon photodiodes. Microfluid Nanofluid 10(4):761–771CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Schroën K, Bliznyuk O, Muijlwijk K, Sahin S, Berton-Carabin CC (2015) Microfluidic emulsification devices: from micrometer insights to large-scale food emulsion production. Curr Opin Food Sci 3:33–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Scott R, Sethu P, Harnett CK (2008) Three-dimensional hydrodynamic focusing in a microfluidic coulter counter. Rev Sci Instrum 79(4):046,104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sim SPC, Kang TG, Yobas L, Holtze C, Weitz DA (2010) The shape of a step structure as a design aspect to control droplet generation in microfluidics. J Micromech Microeng 20(3):035,010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Simonnet C, Groisman A (2005) Two-dimensional hydrodynamic focusing in a simple microfluidic device. Appl Phys Lett 87(11):114,104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sugiura S, Nakajima M, Iwamoto S, Seki M (2001) Interfacial tension driven monodispersed droplet formation from microfabricated channel array. Langmuir 17(18):5562–5566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Taylor GI (1964) Conical free surfaces and fluid interfaces. In: Proceedings of the 11th international congress of applied mechanics (Munich), pp 790–796Google Scholar
  28. Utada AS, Lorenceau E, Link DR, Kaplan PD, Stone HA, Weitz D (2005) Monodisperse double emulsions generated from a microcapillary device. Science 308:537–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Utada AS, Fernández-Nieves A, Stone HA, Weitz D (2007) Dripping to jetting transitions in co-flowing liquid streams. Phys Rev Lett 99(094):502Google Scholar
  30. Zhuang G, Jensen TG, Kutter JP (2012) Detection of unlabeled particles in the low micrometer size range using light scattering and hydrodynamic 3d focusing in a microfluidic system. Electrophoresis 33(12):1715–1722CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena Castro-Hernández
    • 1
  • Maarten P. Kok
    • 2
  • Michel Versluis
    • 2
  • David Fernandez Rivas
    • 3
  1. 1.Área de Mecánica de Fluidos, Departamento de Ingeniería Aeroespacial y Mecánica de FluidosUniversidad de SevillaSevilleSpain
  2. 2.Physics of Fluids GroupMESA+ Institute of Nanotechnology, University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Mesoscale Chemical SystemsMESA+ Institute of Nanotechnology, University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations