Controlled production of monodisperse double emulsions by two-step droplet breakup in microfluidic devices

Langmuir. 2004 Nov 9;20(23):9905-8. doi: 10.1021/la0480336.


A microfluidic device having both hydrophobic and hydrophilic components is exploited for production of multiple-phase emulsions. For producing water-in-oil-in-water (W/O/W) dispersions, aqueous droplets ruptured at the upstream hydrophobic junction are enclosed within organic droplets formed at the downstream hydrophilic junction. Droplets produced at each junction could have narrow size distributions with coefficients of variation in diameter of less than 3%. Control of the flow conditions produces variations in internal/external droplet sizes and in the internal droplet number. Both W/O/W emulsions (with two types of internal droplets) and oil-in-water-in-oil emulsions were prepared by varying geometry and wettability in microchannels.