Magnetic Microsphere-Based Mixers for Microdroplets
Puri, Ishwar K.
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While droplet-based microfluidic systems have several advantages over traditional flow-through devices, achieving adequate mixing between reagents inside droplet-based reactors remains challenging. We describe an active mixing approach based on the magnetic stirring of self-assembled chains of magnetic microspheres within the droplet as these stirrers experience a rotating magnetic field. We measure the mixing of a water-soluble dye in the droplet in terms of a dimensional mixing parameter as the field-rpm, fluid viscosity, and microsphere loading are parametrically varied. These show that the mixing rate has a maximum value at a critical Mason number that depends upon the operating conditions.