A microfluidic method generating monodispersed microparticles with controllable sizes and mechanical properties

authors

  • Zhang Cheng
  • Grossier Romain
  • Lacaria Leda
  • Rico Felix
  • Candoni Nadine
  • Veesler Stéphane

keywords

  • Microfluidic
  • Microparticle
  • Hydrogel
  • Alginate
  • Microdroplet

document type

ART

abstract

Seeking to produce microparticles that mimic red blood cells (RBCs), we present a microfluidic method of generating monodispersed hydrogel microparticles of Na-/Ca-alginate with controllable sizes (micrometer range) and mechanical properties. No surfactant is used. Transformation from Na-alginate to Ca-alginate microparticles is realized via ex situ gelation, which proves essential to obtaining desired microparticle properties, such as insolubility in water and RBC-like mechanical properties. For both Na-alginate and Ca-alginate microparticles, a smooth surface and a porous inner structure are observed under a scanning electron microscope. A platform of microgrippers is successfully developed to manipulate the microparticles. The Young’s modulus measured using an atomic force microscope on the surface of Ca-alginate microparticles is of the same order as that of RBCs.

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