A plug and play modular microcapillary platform for the generation of multicompartmental double emulsions using glass or flouroc
Sean Farley a, Kaitlyn Ramsay a, Katherine Elvira a
a University of Victoria, Canada, Engineering Office Wing, Room 448 Victoria BC Canada, Canada
Proceedings of Emerging Investigators in Microfluidics Conference (EIMC)
Online, Spain, 2021 July 20th - 21st
Organizers: Adrian Nightingale, Darius Rackus and Claire Stanley
Poster, Sean Farley, 031
Publication date: 5th July 2021

Although multiple emulsions have a wide range of applications in biology, medicine, chemistry and cosmetics, the use of microfluidic devices to generate them remains limited to specialist laboratories. This is because of the expertise required to design and operate these technologies. We have developed a plug-and-play microcapillary platform for the generation of multicompartmental double emulsions which only requires a low cost 3D printer for fabrication and syringe pumps for operation. Our microcapillary platform is a modular system where junction boxes fabricated from a flexible resin are used to hold and align any type of standard glass capillary or piece of tubing for droplet formation without the need for capillary alignment. The flexible resin enables total sealing of the capillaries without the need for gaskets or adhesives, and by combining glass and fluorocarbon capillaries surface treatment is not required. We have used our microcapillary platform to generate water-in-oil-in-water, oil-in-water-in-oil, and oil-in-oil-in-water multicompartmental double emulsions with between 1 and 10 inner droplets with high accuracy and reproducibility using standard oils (FC40, mineral oil) and inexpensive surfactants (sodium dodecyl sulfate, SDS or 1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluoro-1-octanol, PFO). Our microcapillary platform can also be used for the formation of binary multicompartmental double emulsions, where two types of inner phase droplets can be encapsulated in the multicompartmental emulsions. Our results demonstrate how simple and accessible tools can be employed to generate a powerful modular microcapillary platform. We anticipate that the simplicity of fabrication and operation of this platform, coupled with its ability to make a wide variety of different types of emulsions, will be attractive both to microfluidic laboratories and to those without microfluidic expertise who need an enabling tool for multicompartmental double emulsion formation. Adapted by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry [1].

This research was funded through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

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