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Synthesis and Applications of Complex Microparticles Using Microfluidic Devices

Speaker: Patrick Doyle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Series: CBE Departmental Seminars
Location: Elgin Room (E-Quad A224)
Date/Time: Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Microparticles find use in a broad range of settings ranging from separation processes to consumer products to fundamental colloid studies. Advanced applications drive the demand for more complex particles with enhanced functionality. Colloidal scientists have longed for an on-demand “particle library” in which particle shape and chemical patterning can be controlled at will to understand fundamental issues in self-assembly and rheology. Microfluidic devices offer an attractive platform for next-generation particle synthesis due to the ability to finely control physical and chemical conditions.  In this talk, I will introduce a new approach to synthesize microparticles entitled Stop Flow Lithography (SFL). SFL is a form of optical liquid stamping which couples microfluidic flow and lithographic patterning of fluids to create microparticles with unprecedented chemical and geometric complexity. I will first describe the fundamental transport processes at play in SFL and give demonstrative examples of particles which can be synthesized, ranging from soft blood cell mimics to ceramic gears. Next, I will describe a specific application of SFL to create barcoded microgel particles for multiplexed bioassays and promising results for the sensitive detection of microRNAs in tissue biopsies and serum as related to cancer.