Photo-crosslinkable gelatin methacrylate (GelMa) microspheres are applicable to deliver cells or drugs in biological or biomedical applications. To fabricate GelMa microdroplets, a flow focusing technique with advantages of size control and rapid production was used in a T-junction microfluidic device. Instability played an important role in promoting microdroplet uniformity. 5 wt. % GelMa prepolymer solution mixed with cells affected cell-induced instability. At low flow rate ratio of GelMa to mineral oil below 0.200, stability was maintained regardless of GelMa concentration (5 and 8 wt. %) and cell presence, which led to uniform microdroplet generation. In contrast, instability at high flow rate ratio above 0.200 was worsened by cell presence and unstable jetting length, resulting in the generation of non-uniform cell-laden microdroplets. Therefore, the effect of cell-induced instability on microdroplet generation was minimized at a low flow rate ratio.
Jung, Jinmu, Jonghyun Oh