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Review

Crosslinking Strategies for the Microfluidic Production of Microgels

Department of Chemical Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Makoto Tsunoda
Molecules 2021, 26(12), 3752; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26123752
Received: 16 May 2021 / Revised: 17 June 2021 / Accepted: 18 June 2021 / Published: 20 June 2021
This article provides a systematic review of the crosslinking strategies used to produce microgel particles in microfluidic chips. Various ionic crosslinking methods for the gelation of charged polymers are discussed, including external gelation via crosslinkers dissolved or dispersed in the oil phase; internal gelation methods using crosslinkers added to the dispersed phase in their non-active forms, such as chelating agents, photo-acid generators, sparingly soluble or slowly hydrolyzing compounds, and methods involving competitive ligand exchange; rapid mixing of polymer and crosslinking streams; and merging polymer and crosslinker droplets. Covalent crosslinking methods using enzymatic oxidation of modified biopolymers, photo-polymerization of crosslinkable monomers or polymers, and thiol-ene “click” reactions are also discussed, as well as methods based on the sol−gel transitions of stimuli responsive polymers triggered by pH or temperature change. In addition to homogeneous microgel particles, the production of structurally heterogeneous particles such as composite hydrogel particles entrapping droplet interface bilayers, core−shell particles, organoids, and Janus particles are also discussed. Microfluidics offers the ability to precisely tune the chemical composition, size, shape, surface morphology, and internal structure of microgels by bringing multiple fluid streams in contact in a highly controlled fashion using versatile channel geometries and flow configurations, and allowing for controlled crosslinking. View Full-Text
Keywords: microgel; Janus particle; ionotropic gelation; crosslinking; cell encapsulation; enzymatic crosslinking; Photopolymerization; hierarchical microgels; composite microgels; microfluidics microgel; Janus particle; ionotropic gelation; crosslinking; cell encapsulation; enzymatic crosslinking; Photopolymerization; hierarchical microgels; composite microgels; microfluidics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, M.; Bolognesi, G.; Vladisavljević, G.T. Crosslinking Strategies for the Microfluidic Production of Microgels. Molecules 2021, 26, 3752. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26123752

AMA Style

Chen M, Bolognesi G, Vladisavljević GT. Crosslinking Strategies for the Microfluidic Production of Microgels. Molecules. 2021; 26(12):3752. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26123752

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chen, Minjun, Guido Bolognesi, and Goran T. Vladisavljević 2021. "Crosslinking Strategies for the Microfluidic Production of Microgels" Molecules 26, no. 12: 3752. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26123752

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