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Porous Polymeric Films from Microbubbles Generated Using a T‑Junction Microfluidic Device

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posted on 21.11.2016, 00:00 by M. Elsayed, A. Kothandaraman, M. Edirisinghe, J. Huang
In this work, a simple microfluidic junction with a T geometry and coarse (200 μm diameter) capillaries was used to generate monodisperse microbubbles with an alginate polymer shell. Subsequently, these bubbles were used to prepare porous alginate films with good control over the pore structure. The lack of pore size, shape, and surface control in scalable forming of polymeric films is a major application-limiting drawback at present. Controlling the thinning process of the shell of the bubbles to tune the surface of the resulting structures was also explored. Films were prepared with nanopatterned surfaces by controlling the thinning of the bubble shell, with the aid of surfactants, to induce efficient bursting (fragmentation) of bubbles to generate nanodroplets, which become embedded within the film surface. This novel feature greatly expands and enhances the use of hydrophilic polymers in a wide range of biomedical applications, particularly in drug delivery and tissue engineering, such as studying cellular responses to different morphological surfaces.

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