Biomaterials Discovery

Molecules 2021


Schematic showing process to create microparticles

Optimising the production of bio-instructive microparticles by droplet microfluidics

Microparticles with bio-instructive surfaces have a wide variety of uses due to their diversity in terms of material, morphology, and shape combinations. Most notably, microparticles are of significant interest in the fields of drug delivery and tissue engineering.  Droplet microfluidics provides a reliable, scalable production method for these particles. The novel materials used to produce such bio-instructive surfaces are the key to success but also present challenges.  Microfluidic processing is rarely straightforward, and the use of new materials exacerbates this process. Traditionally, extensive trial-and-error is used to optimise concentrations and conditions. In this publication the authors presented a strategy to improve optimisation of droplet microfluidics using micropipette characterisation techniques.

Bespoke surfactants have been made by copolymerising two “hit” chemistries with poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate. These surfactants were assessed in conjunction with the other particle components to understand their effectiveness at lowering interfacial tension. Micropipette manipulation techniques informed on the concentration of these surfactants and provided information about processing requirements for achieving solid particles. The combination of micropipette manipulation and microfluidic production enabled the successful production of monodiepserse microparticles, with well defined, bio-instructive surface chemistries through a smooth optimisation process, without lengthy trial-and-error approaches. 

The full article can be in the journal Molecules

Droplet Microfluidic Optimisation Using Micropipette Characterisation of Bio-Instructive Polymeric Surfactants
Henshaw, C.A.; Dundas, A.A.; Cuzzucoli Crucitti, V.; Alexander, M.R.; Wildman, R.; Rose, F.R.A.J.; Irvine, D.J.; Williams, P.M.
Molecules 2021, 26, 3302

Posted on Tuesday 13th July 2021

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