Precise hydrophobic patterning of microfluidic channels for high throughput production of multi-order emulsions.

Method to micropattern the channels in a Very Large Scale Microfluidic Integrated (VLSMI) chip for high throughput multi-order emulsion production.

Problem:
Multi-order emulsions have promising uses in drug delivery and the food industry due to their ability to control multiple fluids at the micrometer scale, which relies on creating micropatterns on chips. Current methods of fluidic channel patterning include flowing reagents through the device and using microcapillary-based droplet generators. However, these approaches either have limited spatial resolution or are incompatible with chips holding large numbers of parallelized devices.

Solution:
To allow precise spatial resolution control, the inventors micro-pattern the wettability of microfluidic channels in a silicon and glass microfluidic chip using a silane coating. They then apply this method to a parallelized microfluidic chip with 2100 double emulsion generators and achieve large-scale multi-order emulsions at high throughput.

Technology:
The inventors use lithography for the fluidic channel patterning and a standard silicon and glass microfabrication process. The key is finding the microfabrication process that does not degrade the silane coating. Thus, the surfaces of components are made hydrophobic prior to components bonding. To demonstrate the practical scale-up ability, they fabricate a 2100-channel microfluidic chip with a similar process and additional etching iterations, which generate highly homogeneous double emulsions at high throughput.

Advantages:

  • This strategy is compatible with parallelization designs, which can generate highly homogeneous double emulsions at 10 L/hour, allowing scale-up for commercial manufacturing.
  • Strategy is also compatible with the chemical environment of current fabrication processes.
  • Both the single microfluidic double emulsion generators and the VLSMI chip can be fabricated with high spatial resolution.
  • Ability of mass-production of hollow microcapsules using the VLSMI chip.

Stage of Development:

  • Proof of Concept

(A) Fabrication process of the single microfluidic double emulsion (DEm) generators; (B) Generation of water-in-oil-in-water and oil-in-water-in-oil homogeneous double emulsions; (C) The Very Large Scale Microfluidic Integrated (VLSMI) chip incorporated with 2100 (300 devices per row × 7 rows) double emulsion generators; (D) SEM image of the VLSMI chip and the homogeneous double emulsions.

Intellectual Property:

  • Provisional Filed

Reference Media:

  • Yadavali et al. Nat Commun., 2018, 9 (1) – 1222.
  • Yadavali et al. Sci Rep., 2019, 9 (1) – 12213.

Desired Partnerships

  • License
  • Co-development

Docket: 22-10110

Website

https://upenn.technologypublisher.com/technology/48030

Contact Information

TTO Home Page: https://upenn.technologypublisher.com

Name: Pamela Beatrice

Title: Director, SEAS/SAS Licensing Group

Department: Penn Center for Innovation

Email: beatricp@upenn.edu

Phone: 215-573-4513