Microdroplets of gallium-based liquid metal alloys have enabled various applications in the fields of biomedicine, electronics, and chemistry. However, due to the high surface tension of liquid metal, high-throughput production of uniformly sized liquid metal microdroplets is challenging using conventional acoustic or microfluidic methods. Here, adapting the submerged electrodispersion technique that has conventionally been used for generating water-based microdroplets, we develop a simple and straightforward platform for the high-throughput production of near-monodisperse (coefficient of variation less than 5%) liquid metal microdroplets in oil without using microfluidic devices. We demonstrate the capabilities of this method for producing liquid metal microdroplets (diameters ranging from tens to hundreds of micrometers) and introduce a spinning disk to induce a flow of oil phase for preventing the coalescence of the microdroplets. The simplicity and remarkable abilities demonstrated for this method may pave the path for the development of future innovative applications based on liquid metal microdroplets.
Available for download on Friday, April 17, 2020