We demonstrate a robust method to produce monodisperse femtoliter to attoliter droplets by using a nano-microfluidic device. Two immiscible liquids are forced through a nanochannel where a steady nanoscopic liquid filament forms, thinning close to the nanochannel exit to a microchannel due to the capillary focusing. When the nanoscopic filament enters the microchannel, monodisperse droplets are formed by capillary instability. In a certain range of physical parameters and geometrical configurations, the droplet size is only determined by the nanochannel height and independent of liquid flow rates and ratios, surfactants, and continuous phase viscosity. By using nanochannels with a height of 100-900 nm, 0.4-3.5 mu m diameter droplets (volume down to 30 aL) have been produced. The generated droplets are stable for at least weeks.
- Capillary focusing