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Schematic diagram of the 3D microfluidic device for in situ generating and tuning W/O droplet arrays. (a) A microchannel embossed with microwells was bonded with a substrate. (b) Cross-sectional view of a microwell along the downstream channel. (c) Shrinkage of a W/O droplet due to the controlled diffusion of water into the surrounding oil.
(a) Snapshots showing the shrinkage process of a DI water droplet in the soybean oil. (b) Dark-field snapshots showing the shrinkage process of dextran in the soybean oil. (c) The evolution of the relative surface area (S/S 0) of various aqueous droplets in the soybean oil over time with initial diameter of around 10 μm. 4 wt. % Span 80 was used as the surfactant in oil.
Microscopic pictures showing the time evolution of a W/O droplet array. The initial dextran concentration is 500 μM, and the average stable droplet diameter is approximately 9 μm. The 20 μm scale bar applies to all of the figures.
Snapshot pictures of self-aligned dextran droplet array with different microwell sizes and initial concentrations. 7 μM for (a)-(b) and 500 μM for (c)-(d). (a), (b), (d) Bright field pictures. (c) Dark field pictures. The 40 μm scale bar applies to all of figures.
Characteristics of the shrunk W/O droplet arrays with various initial concentrations and droplet volumes. (a) The long-term stability of the droplet sizes. Solid or hollow circles, squares, triangles, and inverse triangles represent the data for microwells with widths of 10 μm, 20 μm, 30 μm, and 40 μm, respectively. (b) Relationship between the stable droplet volumes and the amounts of encapsulated dextran. Various initial dextran concentrations and microwell widths (10–50 μm) were used to vary the solute amount.
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