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Keywords:

  • droplet-based microfluidics;
  • microparticles;
  • microcapsules;
  • crystals;
  • self-assembly

Abstract

Recent advances in the fabrication of complex particles and particle-based materials assisted by droplet-based microfluidics are reviewed. Monodisperse particles with expected internal structures, morphologies, and sizes in the range of nanometers to hundreds of micrometers have received a good deal of attention in recent years. Due to the capability of generating monodisperse emulsions and of executing precise control and operations on the suspended droplets inside the microchannels, droplet-based microfluidic devices have become powerful tools for fabricating complex particles with desired properties. Emulsions and multiple-emulsions generated in the microfluidic devices can be composed of a variety of materials including aqueous solutions, gels, polymers and solutions containing functional nanoparticles. They are ideal microreactors or fine templates for synthesizing advanced particles, such as polymer particles, microcapsules, nanocrystals, and photonic crystal clusters or beads by further chemical or physical operations. These particles are promising materials that may be applicable for many fields, such as photonic materials, drug delivery systems, and bio-analysis. From simple to complex, from spherical to nonspherical, from polymerization and reaction crystallization to self-assembly, this review aims to help readers be aware of the many aspects of this field.