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A microfluidic device was designed having the ability to continuously produce monodisperse microcapsules with controlled cell loading. The design included stages of inertial focusing, droplet generation, and photopolymerization. Prototype microfluidic devices were fabricated in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) to demonstrate each stage using poly(ethylene-glycol)-diacrylate (PEGDA) as the encapsulating material and oil as the droplet-containing medium, creating a water-in-oil emulsion. 10.3-μm-diameter fluorescent polystyrene beads were used as cell simulants. In the first stage, inertial focusing was demonstrated using a straight-channel configuration. In the second stage, droplets with a 60±5μm diameter were generated. In the third stage, successful encapsulation of the beads in hydrogel droplets was verified. This technology can significantly impact a wide research area ranging from cellular therapeutics to single-cell manipulation.
Date of Conference: Aug. 31 2010-Sept. 4 2010