Shape-controlled production of biodegradable calcium alginate gel microparticles using a novel microfluidic device

Langmuir. 2006 Oct 24;22(22):9453-7. doi: 10.1021/la061729+.


In this paper we describe a novel method of manufacturing shape-controlled calcium alginate gel microparticles in a microfluidic device. Both manufacturing shape-controlled microparticles and synthesizing hydrogel microparticles could be performed simultaneously in the microfluidic device. The novel microfluidic device comprised of two individual flow-focusing channels and a synthesizing channel was successfully applied as a continuous microfluidic reactor to synthesize gel microparticles with size and shape control. By passive control based on the microchannel geometric confinement and liquid-phase flow rates, we succeeded in producing monodisperse sodium alginate microparticles with diverse shapes (such as plugs, disks, microspheres, rods, and threads) in the flow-focusing channels of the microfluidic device. The shape and size of the sodium alginate microparticles could be tuned by adjusting the flow rates of the various streams. Further stages of the chemical reaction could be initiated by mixing sodium alginate microparticles and calcium chloride (CaCl2) solution in the synthesizing channel. The shapes of the sodium alginate microparticles could be permanently preserved by the synthesis of calcium alginate gel microparticles. The preparation conditions of size- and shape-controlled calcium alginate microparticles and influence factors were studied.

MeSH terms

  • Alginates / chemistry*
  • Alginates / metabolism*
  • Glucuronic Acid / chemistry
  • Glucuronic Acid / metabolism
  • Hexuronic Acids / chemistry
  • Hexuronic Acids / metabolism
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate / chemistry*
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate / metabolism*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques / methods*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Particle Size


  • Alginates
  • Hexuronic Acids
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate
  • Glucuronic Acid