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Production of uniform droplets using membrane, microchannel and microfluidic emulsification devices

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Abstract

This review provides an overview of major microengineering emulsification techniques for production of monodispersed droplets. The main emphasis has been put on membrane emulsification using Shirasu Porous Glass and microsieve membrane, microchannel emulsification using grooved-type and straight-through microchannel plates, microfluidic junctions and flow focusing microfluidic devices. Microfabrication methods for production of planar and 3D poly(dimethylsiloxane) devices, glass capillary microfluidic devices and single-crystal silicon microchannel array devices have been described including soft lithography, glass capillary pulling and microforging, hot embossing, anisotropic wet etching and deep reactive ion etching. In addition, fabrication methods for SPG and microseive membranes have been outlined, such as spinodal decomposition, reactive ion etching and ultraviolet LIGA (Lithography, Electroplating, and Moulding) process. The most widespread application of micromachined emulsification devices is in the synthesis of monodispersed particles and vesicles, such as polymeric particles, microgels, solid lipid particles, Janus particles, and functional vesicles (liposomes, polymersomes and colloidosomes). Glass capillary microfluidic devices are very suitable for production of core/shell drops of controllable shell thickness and multiple emulsions containing a controlled number of inner droplets and/or inner droplets of two or more distinct phases. Microchannel emulsification is a very promising technique for production of monodispersed droplets with droplet throughputs of up to 100 l h−1.

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Vladisavljević, G.T., Kobayashi, I. & Nakajima, M. Production of uniform droplets using membrane, microchannel and microfluidic emulsification devices. Microfluid Nanofluid 13, 151–178 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10404-012-0948-0

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