Computationally Assisted Design and Experimental Validation of a Novel ‘Flow-Focussed’ Microfluidics Chip for Generating Monodisperse Microbubbles

M. Conneely[1], V. Hegde[2], H. Rolfsnes[1], A. Mason[2], D. McLean[1], C. Main[1], F.J.D. Smith[2], W.H.I. McLean[2], P.A. Campbell[1]
[1]Carnegie Physics Laboratory, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
[2]Division of Molecular Medicine, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
Published in 2012

Whilst initially developed as a diagnostic aid to improve echogenicity in ultrasound imaging, gas-filled lipid microbubbles are now emerging as a next generation \'theranostic\' tool in the medical arena. Here, their therapeutic potential has now been realized through their unique capability to deliver molecular species such as drugs and genes by means of disrupting the cell membrane in response to ultrasound wave stimulus. This paper presents the development of a finite element model used to validate an in-house design for a microfluidic microbubble generator. COMSOL Multiphysics v4.1 was used to generate a 2D model which was firstly compared directly against our observational results to confirm its accuracy and furthermore to form parameterized studies in order to characterize the chip design.