Biomedical Microdevices

, 20:94 | Cite as

A versatile and robust microfluidic device for capillary-sized simple or multiple emulsions production

  • E. Teston
  • V. Hingot
  • V. Faugeras
  • C. Errico
  • M. Bezagu
  • M. Tanter
  • O. Couture


Ultrasound-vaporizable microdroplets can be exploited for targeted drug delivery. However, it requires customized microfluidic techniques able to produce monodisperse, capillary-sized and biocompatible multiple emulsions. Recent development of microfluidic devices led to the optimization of microdroplet production with high yields, low polydispersity and well-defined diameters. So far, only few were shown to be efficient for simple droplets or multiple emulsions production below 5 μm in diameter, which is required to prevent microembolism after intravenous injection. Here, we present a versatile microchip for both simple and multiple emulsion production. This parallelized system based on microchannel emulsification was designed to produce perfluorocarbon in water or water within perfluorocarbon in water emulsions with capillary sizes (<5 μm) and polydispersity index down to 5% for in vivo applications such as spatiotemporally-triggered drug delivery using Ultrasound. We show that droplet production at this scale is mainly controlled by interfacial tension forces, how capillary and viscosity ratios influence droplet characteristics and how different production regimes may take place. The better understanding of droplet formation and its relation to applied pressures is supported by observations with a high-speed camera. Compared to previous microchips, this device opens perspectives to produce injectable and biocompatible droplets with a reasonable yield in order to realize preclinical studies in mice.


Drug delivery Microfluidics Microdroplet generation Perfluorocarbons Biocompatible emulsions Multiple emulsions Acoustic droplet vaporization 



This work was supported principally by Plan Cancer, project UICT. This work was also supported by LABEX WIFI (ANR-10-LABX-24) within the French Program “Investments for the Future” under reference ANR-10-IDEX-0001-02-PSL*. The authors warmly thank Baptiste Heiles, Charlotte Constans and Jean-Marie Chassot (Institut Langevin) for their helpful advices.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

MT, CE and OC hold a patent on a parallelized microfluidics droplet production device (PCT/FR2016052890).

Supplementary material

10544_2018_340_MOESM1_ESM.docx (10.8 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 11013 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ESPCI Paris, PSL Research University, Inserm U979, CNRS, Institut LangevinParisFrance

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