Facile microfluidic fabrication of biocompatible hydrogel microspheres in a novel microfluidic device
Poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) microgels with tuneable size and porosity find applications as extracellular matrix mimics for tissue-engineering scaffolds, biosensors, and drug carriers. Monodispersed PEGDA microgels were produced by modular droplet microfluidics using the dispersed phase with 49–99 wt% PEGDA, 1 wt% Darocur 2959, and 0–50 wt% water, while the continuous phase was 3.5 wt% silicone-based surfactant dissolved in silicone oil. Pure PEGDA droplets were fully cured within 60 s at the UV light intensity of 75 mW/cm2. The droplets with higher water content required more time for curing. Due to oxygen inhibition, the polymerisation started in the droplet centre and advanced towards the edge, leading to a temporary solid core/liquid shell morphology, confirmed by tracking the Brownian motion of fluorescent latex nanoparticles within a droplet. A volumetric shrinkage during polymerisation was 1–4% for pure PEGDA droplets and 20–32% for the droplets containing 10–40 wt% water. The particle volume increased by 36–50% after swelling in deionised water. The surface smoothness and sphericity of the particles decreased with increasing water content in the dispersed phase. The porosity of swollen particles was controlled from 29.7% to 41.6% by changing the water content in the dispersed phase from 10 wt% to 40 wt%.
- Chemical Engineering
Pages1 - 16
- VoR (Version of Record)
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