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Nat Commun. 2018 Mar 26;9(1):1222. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03515-2.

Silicon and glass very large scale microfluidic droplet integration for terascale generation of polymer microparticles.

Author information

1
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA. yadavali@seas.upenn.edu.
2
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.
3
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Chonnam National University, Jeonnam, Yeosu, 59626, Republic of Korea.
4
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA. issadore@seas.upenn.edu.
5
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA. issadore@seas.upenn.edu.
6
Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA. issadore@seas.upenn.edu.

Abstract

Microfluidic chips can generate emulsions, which can be used to synthesize polymer microparticles that have superior pharmacological performance compared to particles prepared by conventional techniques. However, low production rates of microfluidics remains a challenge to successfully translate laboratory discoveries to commercial manufacturing. We present a silicon and glass device that incorporates an array of 10,260 (285 × 36) microfluidic droplet generators that uses only a single set of inlets and outlets, increasing throughput by >10,000× compared to microfluidics with a single generator. Our design breaks the tradeoff between the number of generators and the maximum throughput of individual generators by incorporating high aspect ratio flow resistors. We test these design strategies by generating hexadecane microdroplets at >1 trillion droplets per h with a coefficient of variation CV <3%. To demonstrate the synthesis of biocompatible microparticles, we generated 8-16 µm polycaprolactone particles with a CV <5% at a rate of 277 g h-1.

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