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On-chip polyelectrolyte coating onto magnetic droplets – towards continuous flow assembly of drug delivery capsules

Alorabi, Ali Q.; Tarn, Mark D.; Gómez-Pastora, Jenifer; Bringas, Eugenio; Ortiz, Inmaculada; Paunov, Vesselin N.; Pamme, Nicole


Ali Q. Alorabi

Mark D. Tarn

Jenifer Gómez-Pastora

Eugenio Bringas

Inmaculada Ortiz

Vesselin N. Paunov

Nicole Pamme


Polyelectrolyte (PE) microcapsules for drug delivery are typically fabricated via layer-by-layer (LbL) deposition of PE layers of alternating charge on sacrificial template microparticles, which usually requires multiple incubation and washing steps that render the process repetitive and time-consuming. Here, ferrofluid droplets were explored for this purpose as an elegant alternative of templates that can be easily manipulated via an external magnetic field, and require only a simple microfluidic chip design and setup. Glass microfluidic devices featuring T-junctions or flow focusing junctions for the generation of oil-based ferrofluid droplets in an aqueous continuous phase were investigated. Droplet size was controlled by the microfluidic channel dimensions as well as the flow rates of the ferrofluid and aqueous phases. The generated droplets were stabilised by a surface active polymer, polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), and then guided into a chamber featuring alternating, co-laminar PE solutions and wash streams, and deflected across them by means of an external permanent magnet. The extent of droplet deflection was tailored by the flow rates, the concentration of magnetic nanoparticles in the droplets, and the magnetic field strength. PVP-coated ferrofluid droplets were deflected through solutions of polyelectrolyte and washing streams using several iterations of multilaminar flow designs. This culminated in an innovative


Alorabi, A. Q., Tarn, M. D., Gómez-Pastora, J., Bringas, E., Ortiz, I., Paunov, V. N., & Pamme, N. (2017). On-chip polyelectrolyte coating onto magnetic droplets – towards continuous flow assembly of drug delivery capsules. Lab on a chip, 17(22), 3785-3795.

Acceptance Date Oct 2, 2017
Online Publication Date Oct 2, 2017
Publication Date Oct 21, 2017
Deposit Date Oct 9, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Lab on a chip
Print ISSN 1473-0197
Electronic ISSN 1473-0189
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 22
Pages 3785-3795
Keywords Biochemistry; Bioengineering; General Chemistry; Biomedical Engineering
Public URL
Publisher URL!divAbstract


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