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Packing of Emulsion Droplets: Structural and Functional Motifs for Multi-Cored Microcapsules

Authors

  • Shin-Hyun Kim,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Creative Research Initiative Center for Integrated Optofluidic, Systems and Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, 305–701, Korea
    • National Creative Research Initiative Center for Integrated Optofluidic, Systems and Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, 305–701, Korea.
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  • Hyerim Hwang,

    1. National Creative Research Initiative Center for Integrated Optofluidic, Systems and Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, 305–701, Korea
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  • Che Ho Lim,

    1. National Creative Research Initiative Center for Integrated Optofluidic, Systems and Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, 305–701, Korea
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  • Jae Won Shim,

    1. National Creative Research Initiative Center for Integrated Optofluidic, Systems and Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, 305–701, Korea
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  • Seung-Man Yang

    Corresponding author
    1. National Creative Research Initiative Center for Integrated Optofluidic, Systems and Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, 305–701, Korea
    • National Creative Research Initiative Center for Integrated Optofluidic, Systems and Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, 305–701, Korea.
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Abstract

Advances in microfluidic emulsification have enabled the creation of multiphase emulsion drops, which have emerged as promising templates for producing functional microcapsules. However, most previous micro-encapsulation methods have limitations in terms of capsule stability, functionality, and simplicity of fabrication procedures. Here, we report a simple single-step encapsulation technique that uses an optofluidic platform to efficiently and precisely encapsulate a specific number of emulsion droplets in photocurable shell droplets. In particular, we show, for the first time, that densely confined core droplets within an oily shell droplet rearrange into a unique configuration that minimizes the interfacial energy, as confirmed here from theory. These structures are then consolidated into multi-cored microcapsules with structural and mechanical stability through in situ photopolymerization of the shell in a continuous mode, which are capable of isolating active materials and releasing them in a controlled manner using well-defined nanohole arrays or nanoscopic silver architectures on thin membranes.

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