Harnessing liquid-in-liquid printing and micropatterned substrates to fabricate 3-dimensional all-liquid fluidic devices

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

13 Scopus Citations
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Author(s)

  • Wenqian Feng
  • Joe Forth
  • Paul D. Ashby
  • Thomas P. Russell
  • Brett A. Helms

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number1095
Journal / PublicationNature Communications
Volume10
Online published6 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

Systems comprised of immiscible liquids held in non-equilibrium shapes by the interfacial assembly and jamming of nanoparticle−polymer surfactants have significant potential to advance catalysis, chemical separations, energy storage and conversion. Spatially directing functionality within them and coupling processes in both phases remains a challenge. Here, we exploit nanoclay−polymer surfactant assemblies at an oil−water interface to produce a semi-permeable membrane between the liquids, and from them all-liquid fluidic devices with bespoke properties. Flow channels are fabricated using micropatterned 2D substrates and liquid-in-liquid 3D printing. The anionic walls of the device can be functionalized with cationic small molecules, enzymes, and colloidal nanocrystal catalysts. Multi-step chemical transformations can be conducted within the channels under flow, as can selective mass transport across the liquid−liquid interface for in-line separations. These all-liquid systems become automated using pumps, detectors, and control systems, revealing a latent ability for chemical logic and learning.

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