Application note: How to generate microfluidic droplets in a microfluidic chip

Droplets in an Elveflow shaped microfluidic chip! For more conventional droplets, check the rest of this application note.

With the OB1 Mk3 microfluidic flow control system

Microfluidics allows to produce droplets with a precise control and reproducibility over the experiment’s parameters. This precise control enables the generation of size-controlled and high monodispersity droplets.

Droplets generation has a large scale of applications, such as emulsion production, single cell analysis, drug delivery or nanoparticles synthesis. Droplets can also be used as micro bioreactors for chemical or biochemical reactions.

In this application note, we will review the formation of droplets using two different techniques:

Cross-flowing and flow focusing.  The difference between the two methods is the microfluidic chips design, whereas the fluidic setup stays the same.

We will detail the setup used for this experiment and see how pressure-driven flow allows a precise control over the droplet’s size.

COMPONENTS LIST

DROPLET GENERATION PACK

UP TO 10 000 DROPLETS/SEC

microfluidic-droplet-pack

This fully integrated solution includes all the necessary elements to easily create droplets

DROPLET GENERATION PACK

The droplet generation pack has been designed to fit most common droplet generation needs of researchers. Whatever you need, feel free to contact us to discuss about your exact need and if necessary we will adapt the pack and chips to your particular research application. Moreover for most common additional needs we already propose on the shelf option.

  • Up to 10 000 droplets/sec
  • Flow rate: from 0.1 µL/min to 5 mL/min
  • Droplet size dispersion: 0.3%
  • Change of droplets content : 100 ms

Piezo electric microfluidics flow control

SETUP DIAGRAM

This following diagram shows the microfluidic setup used in this application note. The experiments shown in this application note had been realized only with Elveflow’s instruments and accessories. For advice on your research project and experimental needs, do not hesitate to consult our team of specialists.

Need advice to do microfluidic droplets ?

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Microfluidic droplets generation on a microfluidic chip

PROTOCOL & RESULTS

The most common methods in order to create microfluidic droplets are using T-shapse chips or flow focusing chips. In both cases the mechanism remains the same: two different phases (oil and water) and special flow conditions are needed.

The frequency and the size of the droplet depend on the inlet flow rate ratio and the stability of the droplet depends on the stability of the flow. The OB1 Mk3 enables a precise control over the pressure and thus stable and homogeneous droplets. 

Moreover, the Elveflow® Smart Interface is a user-friendly software that will allow you to easily perform different experiments of droplets generation. You will easily adjust the pressure applied on oil and water in order to control the size and frequency of the droplets.

Generating small sized droplets with pressure control

Generating medium sized pressure droplets with pressure control

Real time droplets’ size modification

Thanks to the fast response time of the OB1 Mk3, it’s possible to quickly change the flow conditions and thus to change the shape of the droplets within a few seconds.

WORLD LEADER IN HIGH PERFORMANCE MICROFLUIDIC FLOW CONTROL

We  provide the only microfluidic flow control system using Piezo technology that enables a blazing fast flow change in your microdevice.

Piezo electric microfluidics flow control