Special Issue "Polymer Material Design by Microfluidics"

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymer Physics and Theory".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Julian Thiele
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Physical Chemistry and Polymer Physics, Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V., D-01069 Dresden, Germany
Interests: microfluidics; hydrogels; additive manufacturing; cell-free biotechnology
Prof. Dr. Sebastian Seiffert
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Physical Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, D-55128 Mainz, Germany
Interests: polymer networks; microgels; microfluidics; polymer physics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Microfluidics provides unprecedented control over flow patterns, e.g., continuously flowing or segmented liquid–liquid interfaces, such as droplets. Liquid mixing on the microsecond-scale and flow control down to the femtoliter-range has inspired researchers to utilize microfluidics for the study, control and manipulation of self-assembly, nucleation and soft matter grwoth. Along these lines, microfluidics has made a significant impact on polymer material design. Specifically, liquid templates enable the preparation of a broad variety of polymer-based nano- and microparticles, capsules, vesicles or micelles for protection and delivery as building blocks or reaction space. Under a holistic view on synthesis, processing, and applications, the Special Issue “Polymer Material Design by Microfluidics” focuses on the most recent developments in the application of microflow cells  fabricated from PDMS, glass or via additive manufacturing/3D printing to pave the way towards the development of polymer materials with physicochemical and mechanical properties tailored from the nano- to microscale that exhibit novel architecture and functions.

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Seiffert
Dr. Julian Thiele
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • microfluidics
  • polymer materials
  • flow cell fabrication
  • hydrogels
  • capsules
  • polymer nanoparticles
  • vesicles
  • micelles

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Microfluidic Fabrication of Click Chemistry-Mediated Hyaluronic Acid Microgels: A Bottom-Up Material Guide to Tailor a Microgel’s Physicochemical and Mechanical Properties
Polymers 2020, 12(8), 1760; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12081760 - 06 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1070
Abstract
The demand for tailored, micrometer-scaled biomaterials in cell biology and (cell-free) biotechnology has led to the development of tunable microgel systems based on natural polymers, such as hyaluronic acid (HA). To precisely tailor their physicochemical and mechanical properties and thus to address the [...] Read more.
The demand for tailored, micrometer-scaled biomaterials in cell biology and (cell-free) biotechnology has led to the development of tunable microgel systems based on natural polymers, such as hyaluronic acid (HA). To precisely tailor their physicochemical and mechanical properties and thus to address the need for well-defined microgel systems, in this study, a bottom-up material guide is presented that highlights the synergy between highly selective bio-orthogonal click chemistry strategies and the versatility of a droplet microfluidics (MF)-assisted microgel design. By employing MF, microgels based on modified HA-derivates and homobifunctional poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)-crosslinkers are prepared via three different types of click reaction: Diels–Alder [4 + 2] cycloaddition, strain-promoted azide-alkyne cycloaddition (SPAAC), and UV-initiated thiol–ene reaction. First, chemical modification strategies of HA are screened in-depth. Beyond the microfluidic processing of HA-derivates yielding monodisperse microgels, in an analytical study, we show that their physicochemical and mechanical properties—e.g., permeability, (thermo)stability, and elasticity—can be systematically adapted with respect to the type of click reaction and PEG-crosslinker concentration. In addition, we highlight the versatility of our HA-microgel design by preparing non-spherical microgels and introduce, for the first time, a selective, hetero-trifunctional HA-based microgel system with multiple binding sites. As a result, a holistic material guide is provided to tailor fundamental properties of HA-microgels for their potential application in cell biology and (cell-free) biotechnology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Material Design by Microfluidics)
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Open AccessCommunication
High-Throughput Production of Micrometer Sized Double Emulsions and Microgel Capsules in Parallelized 3D Printed Microfluidic Devices
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1887; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111887 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1550
Abstract
Double emulsions are useful geometries as templates for core-shell particles, hollow sphere capsules, and for the production of biomedical delivery vehicles. In microfluidics, two approaches are currently being pursued for the preparation of microfluidic double emulsion devices. The first approach utilizes soft lithography, [...] Read more.
Double emulsions are useful geometries as templates for core-shell particles, hollow sphere capsules, and for the production of biomedical delivery vehicles. In microfluidics, two approaches are currently being pursued for the preparation of microfluidic double emulsion devices. The first approach utilizes soft lithography, where many identical double-flow-focusing channel geometries are produced in a hydrophobic silicone matrix. This technique requires selective surface modification of the respective channel sections to facilitate alternating wetting conditions of the channel walls to obtain monodisperse double emulsion droplets. The second technique relies on tapered glass capillaries, which are coaxially aligned, so that double emulsions are produced after flow focusing of two co-flowing streams. This technique does not require surface modification of the capillaries, as only the continuous phase is in contact with the emulsifying orifice; however, these devices cannot be fabricated in a reproducible manner, which results in polydisperse double emulsion droplets, if these capillary devices were to be parallelized. Here, we present 3D printing as a means to generate four identical and parallelized capillary device architectures, which produce monodisperse double emulsions with droplet diameters in the range of 500 µm. We demonstrate high throughput synthesis of W/O/W and O/W/O double emulsions, without the need for time-consuming surface treatment of the 3D printed microfluidic device architecture. Finally, we show that we can apply this device platform to generate hollow sphere microgels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Material Design by Microfluidics)
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Open AccessArticle
Magnetic-Responsive Bendable Nozzles for Open Surface Droplet Manipulation
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1792; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111792 - 01 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1026
Abstract
The handling of droplets in a controlled manner is essential to numerous technological and scientific applications. In this work, we present a new open-surface platform for droplet manipulation based on an array of bendable nozzles that are dynamically controlled by a magnetic field. [...] Read more.
The handling of droplets in a controlled manner is essential to numerous technological and scientific applications. In this work, we present a new open-surface platform for droplet manipulation based on an array of bendable nozzles that are dynamically controlled by a magnetic field. The actuation of these nozzles is possible thanks to the magnetically responsive elastomeric composite which forms the tips of the nozzles; this is fabricated with Fe3O4 microparticles embedded in a polydimethylsiloxane matrix. The transport, mixing, and splitting of droplets can be controlled by bringing together and separating the tips of these nozzles under the action of a magnet. Additionally, the characteristic configuration for droplet mixing in this platform harnesses the kinetic energy from the feeding streams; this provided a remarkable reduction of 80% in the mixing time between drops of liquids about eight times more viscous than water, i.e., 6.5 mPa/s, when compared against the mixing between sessile drops of the same fluids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Material Design by Microfluidics)
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