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Micromachines 2016, 7(8), 142;

High-Pressure Acceleration of Nanoliter Droplets in the Gas Phase in a Microchannel

Department of Hemolysis and Apheresis, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
Deparment of Applied Chemistry, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Manabu Tokeshi and Kiichi Sato
Received: 2 May 2016 / Revised: 2 August 2016 / Accepted: 10 August 2016 / Published: 15 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro/Nano Devices for Chemical Analysis)
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Microfluidics has been used to perform various chemical operations for pL–nL volumes of samples, such as mixing, reaction and separation, by exploiting diffusion, viscous forces, and surface tension, which are dominant in spaces with dimensions on the micrometer scale. To further develop this field, we previously developed a novel microfluidic device, termed a microdroplet collider, which exploits spatially and temporally localized kinetic energy. This device accelerates a microdroplet in the gas phase along a microchannel until it collides with a target. We demonstrated 6000-fold faster mixing compared to mixing by diffusion; however, the droplet acceleration was not optimized, because the experiments were conducted for only one droplet size and at pressures in the 10–100 kPa range. In this study, we investigated the acceleration of a microdroplet using a high-pressure (MPa) control system, in order to achieve higher acceleration and kinetic energy. The motion of the nL droplet was observed using a high-speed complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) camera. A maximum droplet velocity of ~5 m/s was achieved at a pressure of 1–2 MPa. Despite the higher fluid resistance, longer droplets yielded higher acceleration and kinetic energy, because droplet splitting was a determining factor in the acceleration and using a longer droplet helped prevent it. The results provide design guidelines for achieving higher kinetic energies in the microdroplet collider for various microfluidic applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: microfluidics; microchannel; droplet; gas phase microfluidics; microchannel; droplet; gas phase

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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 (CC BY 4.0).

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Kazoe, Y.; Yamashiro, I.; Mawatari, K.; Kitamori, T. High-Pressure Acceleration of Nanoliter Droplets in the Gas Phase in a Microchannel. Micromachines 2016, 7, 142.

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