Droplet-based systems have proven themselves as a major sub-category of microfluidics thanks to their ability to encapsulate the fluid-of-interest into segmented droplets in a carrying fluid. Microdroplet systems can be used in a vast range of applications from drug delivery and discovery to cellular studies, material synthesis, and reaction kinetics. An important question left open was precise measurement of droplet properties in real-time so that the follow-up analyses can be carried out at higher sensitivity levels.
Development of a system to monitor morphological properties of droplets in real-time could open new doors in precise micro/nano material synthesis. A group of Bilkent University UNAM researchers led by Asst. Prof. Dr. Çağlar Elbuken devised a way to help researchers doing chemical synthesis or microdroplet analysis without any need of post-processing. “Our currently developed droplet-based microfluidic system, iDM (impedimetric Droplet Measurement), can process impedimetric signals in real-time to extract morphological droplet properties and the interfacial tension between two immiscible liquids.” Abtin Saateh, a graduate student at UNAM, told.
The study is featured as a back-cover of Lab on a Chip Journal, a prestigious microfluidics journal. iDM uses microfabricated coplanar electrodes for characterization of the droplet through a user-friendly interface to obtain the real-time droplet length and velocity together with in-situ statistical analysis results. A comparison between impedimetric and optical measurement tools is also given in the study. Further, to illustrate the benefit of having real-time analysis, iDM is used to synthesize polymeric particles with a predefined monodispersity limit. Amongst several other applications, synthesis of monodisperse particles is a major use of the new study. iDM is available online as a freeware for research use. http://impedimetric-droplet.weebly.com/
Real-time impedimetric droplet measurement (iDM)