Limitations in the methods employed to generate micrometric colloidal droplets hinder the emergence of key applications in the fields of material science and drug delivery. Through the use of dedicated nanofluidic devices and by taking advantage of an original physical effect called capillary focusing, we could circumvent some of these limitations. The nanofluidic (i.e., submicrometric) devices introduced herein are made of soft materials, and their fabrication relies upon rapid technologies. The objects that we have generated are simple droplets, multiple droplets, particles, and Janus particles whose sizes lie between 900 nm and 3 microm (i.e., within the colloidal range). Colloidal droplets have been assembled on-chip into clusters and crystals, yielding discrete diffraction patterns. We illustrate potential applications in the field of drug delivery by demonstrating the ability of multiple droplets to be phagocytosed by murine macrophage-type cells.
Langmuir 11/2009; 26(4):2369-73. DOI:10.1021/la9028047 · 4.38 Impact Factor