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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12(4), 2572-2597; doi:10.3390/ijms12042572
Review

Droplets Formation and Merging in Two-Phase Flow Microfluidics

* ,
 and
Physics of Complex Fluids, Faculty of Science and Technology, IMPACT and MESA + Institutes, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500AE Enschede, The Netherlands
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 February 2011 / Revised: 11 March 2011 / Accepted: 2 April 2011 / Published: 15 April 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microfluidics)
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Abstract

Two-phase flow microfluidics is emerging as a popular technology for a wide range of applications involving high throughput such as encapsulation, chemical synthesis and biochemical assays. Within this platform, the formation and merging of droplets inside an immiscible carrier fluid are two key procedures: (i) the emulsification step should lead to a very well controlled drop size (distribution); and (ii) the use of droplet as micro-reactors requires a reliable merging. A novel trend within this field is the use of additional active means of control besides the commonly used hydrodynamic manipulation. Electric fields are especially suitable for this, due to quantitative control over the amplitude and time dependence of the signals, and the flexibility in designing micro-electrode geometries. With this, the formation and merging of droplets can be achieved on-demand and with high precision. In this review on two-phase flow microfluidics, particular emphasis is given on these aspects. Also recent innovations in microfabrication technologies used for this purpose will be discussed.
Keywords: microfluidics; two-phase flow; droplet formation; droplet merging; electro-coalescence; electrowetting microfluidics; two-phase flow; droplet formation; droplet merging; electro-coalescence; electrowetting
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Gu, H.; Duits, M.H.G.; Mugele, F. Droplets Formation and Merging in Two-Phase Flow Microfluidics. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12, 2572-2597.

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