Multiple emulsion formation from controllable drop pairs in microfluidics

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A novel and reliable approach is developed for generating highly controlled multiple emulsions from controllable drop pairs in microfluidics. Drop pairs are accurately generated by drop-triggered drop formation and precise drop-pairing, and then one drop completely engulfs the other immiscible drop to form a multiple emulsion by adjusting their interfacial energies. This approach successfully avoids the complex sequential emulsifications and shows great stability and controllable flexibility. In addition, our strategy for drop-pairing is so reliable that it allows long-term operation without any misorder at all. Importantly, the proposed method of drop-pairing and multiple emulsion formation provides an innovative platform to precisely manipulate small volumes of fluids, which is of great value for exploiting novel microfluidics.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21136006, 21076127) and the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University (IRT1163).

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Correspondence to Liang-Yin Chu.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Two supplementary movies showing the wetting-induced formation of O/W/O double emulsions and O/W/O/O triple emulsions from controllable drop pairs. (MOV 2681 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (MOV 3327 kb)

Two supplementary movies showing the wetting-induced formation of O/W/O double emulsions and O/W/O/O triple emulsions from controllable drop pairs. (MOV 2681 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (MOV 3327 kb)

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Deng, N., Mou, C., Wang, W. et al. Multiple emulsion formation from controllable drop pairs in microfluidics. Microfluid Nanofluid 17, 967–972 (2014).

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  • Multiple emulsions
  • Drop-pairing
  • Microfluidics
  • Drop-engulfing-drop
  • Interfaces