Centrifugal Force-Driven Modular Micronozzle System: Generation of Engineered Alginate Microspheres

Sci Rep. 2019 Sep 4;9(1):12776. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-49244-4.

Abstract

In this study, we developed a modular micronozzle system that can control the flow of fluid based on centrifugal force and synthesize functional alginate microspheres with various structures and sizes. Our method is to fabricate a programmable microreactor that can be easily manufactured without the conventional soft-lithography process using various sequences of the micronozzles with various inner diameters. To overcome the obstacles of pump-based microfluidic devices that need to be precisely controlled, we designed the programmable microreactor to be driven under centrifugal force with a combination of micronozzles, thus enabling the mass production of various functional alginate microspheres within a few minutes. The programmable microreactor designed through the arrangement of the modular micronozzles enables the formation of various types of alginate microspheres such as core-shell, Janus, and particle mixture. These materials are controlled to a size from 400 µm to 900 µm. In addition, our platform is used to generate pH-responsive smart materials, and to easily control various sizes, shapes, and compositions simultaneously. By evaluating the release process of model drugs according to the pH change, the possibility of drug delivery application is confirmed. We believe that our method can contribute to development of biomaterials engineering that has been limited by the requirement of sophisticated devices, and special skills and/or labor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't