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Talanta. 2018 Jan 1;176:646-651. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2017.08.084. Epub 2017 Aug 30.

On-chip microfluidic generation of monodisperse bubbles for liquid interfacial tension measurement.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Biomedical Functional Materials, School of Science, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 211198, China; State Key Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry for Life Science, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China.
2
Key Laboratory of Biomedical Functional Materials, School of Science, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 211198, China.
3
State Key Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry for Life Science, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China.
4
State Key Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry for Life Science, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China. Electronic address: xhxia@nju.edu.cn.

Abstract

A novel microfluidic method for measuring liquid interfacial tension using monodisperse microbubbles generated in situ has been proposed. Instead of bulky gas supply used in traditional microfluidic devices, microbubbles are efficiently generated via water electrolysis in the devices. Since the bubble formation frequency is related to the interfacial tension of liquids used, thus, precisely measuring the interfacial tension of liquids in microfluidics can be achieved. In addition, it is found that during the microbubble formation, the electrochemical potential fluctuates regularly at controlled electrolysis current, and the fluctuating period depends on the microbubble generation rate. Therefore, the change in electrochemical potential can be directly used to monitor the bubble formation process, which avoids the use of an external optical detection system. As demonstration, the interfacial tension of isopentanol solutions with different concentrations was measured, and the results show good agreement with the ones obtained using the maximum bubble pressure method, confirming the accuracy of the present method. The proposed strategy offers a simple, low cost and accurate solution to measure the liquid interfacial tension confined in microfluidic channels. The present platform is easily constructed and facilely manipulated in common laboratories, which is expected to be widely used in microfluidic-based research and application fields.

KEYWORDS:

Electrochemical technique; Interfacial tension; Microfluidics; Monodisperse microbubble

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