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J Vis Exp. 2015 Dec 25;(106):e53516. doi: 10.3791/53516.

Double Emulsion Generation Using a Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) Co-axial Flow Focus Device.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco.
Joint UCSF/UCB Bioengineering Graduate Group, University of California, San Francisco.
Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, University of California, San Francisco; California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, University of California, San Francisco;


Double emulsions are useful in a number of biological and industrial applications in which it is important to have an aqueous carrier fluid. This paper presents a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microfluidic device capable of generating water/oil/water double emulsions using a coaxial flow focusing geometry that can be fabricated entirely using soft lithography. Similar to emulsion devices using glass capillaries, double emulsions can be formed in channels with uniform wettability and with dimensions much smaller than the channel sizes. Three dimensional flow focusing geometry is achieved by casting a pair of PDMS slabs using two layer soft lithography, then mating the slabs together in a clamshell configuration. Complementary locking features molded into the PDMS slabs enable the accurate registration of features on each of the slab surfaces. Device testing demonstrates formation of double emulsions from 14 µm to 50 µm in diameter while using large channels that are robust against fouling and clogging.

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