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Formation of a polymer surface with a gradient of pore size using a microfluidic chip.

Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids (2013-02-23)
Kristina Kreppenhofer, Junsheng Li, Rodrigo Segura, Ludmilla Popp, Massimiliano Rossi, Pavleta Tzvetkova, Burkhard Luy, Christian J Kähler, Andreas E Guber, Pavel A Levkin
ABSTRACT

Here we demonstrate the generation of polymer monolithic surfaces possessing a gradient of pore and polymer globule sizes from ~0.1 to ~0.5 μm defined by the composition of two polymerization mixtures injected into a microfluidic chip. To generate the gradient, we used a PDMS microfluidic chip with a cascade micromixer with a subsequent reaction chamber for the formation of a continuous gradient film. The micromixer has zigzag channels of 400 × 680 μm(2) cross section and six cascades. The chip was used with a reversible bonding connection, realized by curing agent coating. After polymerization in the microfluidic chip the reversible bond was opened, resulting in a 450 μm thick polymer film possessing the pore size gradient. The gradient formation in the microfluidic reaction chamber was studied using microscopic laser-induced fluorescence (μLIF) and different model fluids. Formation of linear gradients was shown using the fluids of the same density by both diffusive mixing at flow rates of 0.001 mL/min and in a convective mixing regime at flow rates of 20 mL/min. By using different density fluids, formation of a two-dimensional wedge-like gradient controlled by the density difference and orientation of the microfluidic chip was observed.

MATERIALS
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