Method and Apparatus for Fluid Dispersion

Summary The invention is a microfluidic device for focusing and/or breaking fluid sections and drops. The subject fluid flows in the device's central channel as the dispersing fluid flows in the two outer channels. The outer fluid exerts pressure and viscous stresses that focus the inner fluid into a narrow thread that then breaks at, or just after, the orifice via capillary instability.

The invention also covers "passive breakup" and "flow focusing" techniques to control the size and size distribution of a dispersed phase in a multi-phase fluid system.
"Flow focusing" techniques allow for control of the size of individual drops and gas bubbles and for manipulating the drop size distribution. These techniques enable the tailoring of performance, rheology, and other properties of products utilizing soft materials.
"Passive breakup" involves breaking pre-formed drops in ordinary pressure-driven flows, with emphasis on selecting the size of the drops. In a controlled manner, this technique can reproducibly reduce the drop size of a monodisperse emulsion by breaking individual drops into two equal or unequal volumes.

Advantages Controllable ----------- Fluid section sizes up to 100 microns Flexible ---------------- Single channel flows of 0.05-10 microliters/second Repeatable ------------ Monodisperse fluid sections can be created and then further-dispersed Inexpensive ----------- One-piece mold fabrication from readily available, low-cost materials Simple ----------------- An interconnected region, orifice, channels, T-junctions, and obstructions

Harvard research group websites www.deas.harvard.edu/projects/weitzlab, www.esag.harvard.edu/fluidsgroup/
* Marketing flyer available

Applications Microfluidics Home and personal care products Lab on a chip Measurement of chemical kinetics Drug delivery High throughput screening Soft materials Combinatorial chemistry Foods Foams and Emulsions For Further Information Please Contact the Director of Business Development Daniel Behr Email: daniel_behr@harvard.edu Telephone: (617) 495-3067

Inventor(s): Stone, Howard A.

Type of Offer: Licensing



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