Journal article

A microfluidic process for on-chip formation of assemblies of oxide nanoparticles

We report the continuous growth of spherical assemblies of silica and titania nanoparticles, which were pre-activated to produce hydroxyl/ peroxy groups on their surface, by flowing a colloid-in-dioctyl phthalate emulsion into a polydimethylsiloxane microfluidic chip, which is held at a temperature of 120-130 degrees C. When the colloidal microdroplets enter the chip, the instantaneous heating results in vapour-based convective agitation and emulsion breakup, leading to microdroplet fusion and subsequent merging of their nanoparticle content. This progressively results in a robust large assembly obtained after sintering at 600 degrees C owing to strong chemical interparticle bonds.


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