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J Am Chem Soc. 2008 Jan 30;130(4):1335-40. doi: 10.1021/ja0762700. Epub 2008 Jan 1.

Programmable fluidic production of microparticles with configurable anisotropy.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.


We report a technique for continuous production of microparticles of variable size with new forms of anisotropy including alternating bond angles, configurable patchiness, and uniform roughness. The sequence and shape of the anisotropic particles are configured by exploiting a combination of confinement effects and microfluidics to pack precursor colloids with different properties into a narrow, terminal channel. The width and length of the channel relative to the particle size fully specify the configuration of the anisotropic particle that will be produced. The precursor spheres packed in the production zone are then permanently bonded into particles by thermal fusing. The flow in the production zone is reversed to release the particles for collection and use. Particles produced have linear chain structure with precisely configured, repeatable bond angles. With software programmable microfluidics, sequence and shape anisotropy are combined to yield synthesized homogeneous (type "A"), surfactantlike (type "A-B") or triblock (type "A-B-A") internal sequences in a single device. By controlling the dimensions of the microfluidic production zone, triangular prisms and particles with controlled roughness and patchiness are produced. The fabrication method is performed with precursors spheres with diameter as small as 3.0 microm.

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