Syringe-vacuum microfluidics: A portable technique to create monodisperse emulsions

Biomicrofluidics. 2011 Mar 16;5(1):14107. doi: 10.1063/1.3567093.


We present a simple method for creating monodisperse emulsions with microfluidic devices. Unlike conventional approaches that require bulky pumps, control computers, and expertise with device physics to operate devices, our method requires only the microfluidic device and a hand-operated syringe. The fluids needed for the emulsion are loaded into the device inlets, while the syringe is used to create a vacuum at the device outlet; this sucks the fluids through the channels, generating the drops. By controlling the hydrodynamic resistances of the channels using hydrodynamic resistors and valves, we are able to control the properties of the drops. This provides a simple and highly portable method for creating monodisperse emulsions.