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Beating Poisson stochastic particle encapsulation in flow-focusing microfluidic devices using viscoelastic liquids

Keshvad Shahrivar, Francesco Del Giudice Orcid Logo

Soft Matter, Volume: 18, Issue: 32, Pages: 5928 - 5933

Swansea University Author: Francesco Del Giudice Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1039/d2sm00935h

Abstract

The encapsulation and co-encapsulation of particles in microfluidic flows is essential in applications related to single-cell analysis and material synthesis. However, the whole encapsulation process is stochastic in nature, and its efficiency is limited by the so-called Poisson limit. We here demon...

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Published in: Soft Matter
ISSN: 1744-683X 1744-6848
Published: Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) 2022
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa60975
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Abstract: The encapsulation and co-encapsulation of particles in microfluidic flows is essential in applications related to single-cell analysis and material synthesis. However, the whole encapsulation process is stochastic in nature, and its efficiency is limited by the so-called Poisson limit. We here demonstrate particle encapsulation in microfluidic devices having flow-focusing geometries with efficiency up to 2-fold larger than the stochastic limit imposed by the Poisson statistics. To this aim, we exploited the recently observed phenomenon of particle train formation in viscoelastic liquids, so that particles could approach the encapsulation area with a constant frequency that was subsequently synchronised to the constant frequency of droplet formation. We also developed a simplified expression based on the experimental results that can guide optimal design of the microfluidic encapsulation system. Finally, we report the first experimental evidence of viscoelastic co-encapsulation of particles coming from different streams.
College: College of Engineering
Funders: F.D.G acknowledges support from EPSRC New Investigator Award, grant EP/S036490/1.
Issue: 32
Start Page: 5928
End Page: 5933