High-pressure acceleration of nanoliter droplets in the gas phase in a microchannel

Yutaka Kazoe, Ippei Yamashiro, Kazuma Mawatari, Takehiko Kitamori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Microfluidics has been used to perform various chemical operations for pL-nL volumes of samples, such as mixing, reaction and separation, by exploiting diffusion, viscous forces, and surface tension, which are dominant in spaces with dimensions on the micrometer scale. To further develop this field, we previously developed a novel microfluidic device, termed a microdroplet collider, which exploits spatially and temporally localized kinetic energy. This device accelerates a microdroplet in the gas phase along a microchannel until it collides with a target. We demonstrated 6000-fold faster mixing compared to mixing by diffusion; however, the droplet acceleration was not optimized, because the experiments were conducted for only one droplet size and at pressures in the 10-100 kPa range. In this study, we investigated the acceleration of a microdroplet using a high-pressure (MPa) control system, in order to achieve higher acceleration and kinetic energy. The motion of the nL droplet was observed using a high-speed complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) camera. A maximum droplet velocity of ~5 m/s was achieved at a pressure of 1-2 MPa. Despite the higher fluid resistance, longer droplets yielded higher acceleration and kinetic energy, because droplet splitting was a determining factor in the acceleration and using a longer droplet helped prevent it. The results provide design guidelines for achieving higher kinetic energies in the microdroplet collider for various microfluidic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number142
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 15
Externally publishedYes


  • Droplet
  • Gas phase
  • Microchannel
  • Microfluidics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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