Droplet microcluster as a chemical microreactor

This week we, together with a team of chemists from the ITMO University lead by Prof. Е. Skorb, visited Dr. Fedorets’ lab in Tyumen University and performed some experiments using levitating microdroplet clusters as chemical reactors. First, a substance “A” was injected into the cluster, so that several dozens of droplets with the substance A were formed. Then a substance “B” was injected into the cluster, so that droplets with the substance “B” were formed as well. Than many droplets coalesced, causing a chemical reaction A + B → C, with “C” forming luminescent crystals that could be observed as flashing points.

This is the first observation of a chemical reaction in a levitating droplet cluster. The observation proves that microdroplets can be used as chemical micro-reactors. The cluster is an array of several dozens of microreactors. The expectation is that chemical reaction could have different kinetics in levitating microdroplets comparing with that in the bulk. Merging droplets can also be used as a foundation of a chemical computing device.

These are preliminary observations and of course they should be (and will be) published as a paper in a peer-reviewed journal before we can discuss them. However, I decided to mention these new results in my blog due to their importance.

Dr. Michael Nosonovsky (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

The experimental setup for the droplet cluster observation of Dr. Alexander Fedorets’s lab in Tyumen University:

Dr. Ekaterina Skorb (ITMO)

Dr. Alexander Fedorets (Tyumen University)