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Lab Chip. 2006 Aug;6(8):1073-9. Epub 2006 May 31.

High-performance flow-focusing geometry for spontaneous generation of monodispersed droplets.

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Institute of Microelectronics, Singapore.


A high-performance flow-focusing geometry for spontaneous generation of monodispersed droplets is demonstrated. In this geometry, a two-phase flow is forced through a circular orifice integrated inside a silicon-based microchannel. The orifice with its cusp-like edge exerts a ring of maximized stress around the flow and ensures controlled breakup of droplets for a wide range of flow rates, forming highly periodic and reproducible dispersions. The droplet generation can be remarkably rapid, exceeding 10(4) s(-1) for water-in-oil droplets and reaching 10(3) s(-1) for oil-in-water droplets, being largely controlled by flow rate of the continuous phase. The droplet diameter and generation frequency are compared against a quasi-equilibrium model based on the critical Capillary number. The droplets are obtained despite the low Capillary number, below the critical value identified by the ratio of viscosities between the two phases and simple shear-flow.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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