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Control de deformación de gotas

Resumen

Tipo:
Oferta Tecnológica
Referencia:
TOUK20131216006
Publicado:
02/01/2015
Caducidad:
06/03/2015
Resumen:
Una empresa británica ha desarrollado una nueva tecnología con capacidad para deformar gotas de combustibles, disolventes polares y geles mediante el uso de trampas ópticas de haz láser. Las trampas ópticas se crean con láseres de una longitud de onda específica en la región de infrarrojo para que tengan una magnitud comparable a la de las gotas. Las principales ventajas frente a otras metodologías incluyen la capacidad de generar múltiples trampas en numerosos planos, nuevas capacidades de producción, y manipulación de las gotas. Se buscan socios para desarrollar productos comercializables bajo acuerdos de licencia.

Details

Tittle:
Novel Droplet Deformation Control
Summary:
A UK research company has developed an innovative technology which provides a unique capability for the deformation of oils, polar solvents and gels droplets by the use of generated laser beam optical traps. The main advantages over other methodologies are; it is able to generate multiple traps over many planes, enables new manufacturing capabilities and permits droplet manipulation. An opportunity is offered for partners to develop this technology into marketable products under licence.
Description:
There are many applications where microscopic particles and structures having particular shapes and properties are required, for example in Micro-Electromechanical systems (MEMS), surface coatings, photonic waveguides, etc. Currently the manufacture of such particles is carried out though a SU8 (a commonly used epoxy-based negative photoresist polymer) process.
The technology developed by UK researchers utilizes optical traps to deform droplets to a shape of choice. These droplets may be oil immersions in water, vice versa, gels or other flexible material suspended in a surrounding medium. The optical traps are created by lasers of particular wavelengths usually in the IR (infra-red) region in order to be comparable in magnitude to that of the droplet. The surface tension between the two fluids which in nature is much higher (1000x) than the forces exerted by the traps, is reduced through use of surfactants.
The Laser beams usually three or more focused through an objective lens are used to create a multitude of optical traps which can be translated in controlled directions on a single plane to create two-dimensional shapes on two or more planes to create three dimensional geometries. The number of traps generated may be increased through the use of Diffractive Optical Elements (DOEs), Spatial Light Modulators (SLMs), etc. This technique would also allow for easy and rapid movements of the traps.
The technology may also be extended in use to polymerize the monomers in a droplet while being held in a certain shape, through the use of a polymerisation initiator in the emulsion. The initiators can be activated by the action of light of particular wavelengths (photo-initiators), heat, radiation, ultrasound, etc.
The technology has been also shown to separate or pull out multiple daughter droplets from a single droplet, while remaining connected by a thin thread of the droplet fluid itself. Polymerisation of such threads would be useful in the production of ultra-fine structures such as needles and probe tips. Other extensions of this technology would be in the production of in situ, solid, shaped valves internal to microfluidic devices.
In comparison to a SU8 process, this technology removes the need for a third material acting as a mould on which the particles may be shaped as well as renders the flexibility to generate very complex shapes.

Currently, the technology suffers throughput issues, but work is being carried out to remove increase the throughput, preferably through parallel platforms, etc.
Partners are now required to identify appropriate commercial products in exchange for 'sweat equity' (defined as 'Contribution to a project or enterprise in the form of effort and toil. Sweat equity is the ownership interest, or increase in value, that is created as a direct result of hard work by the partner/s') under a licence agreement.
Advantages and Innovations:
Innovations are:
Reduction of the surface tension of the droplets, allowing direct manipulation by optical traps.
Removes the presence of a third material acting as a dye on which the droplet may be shaped.
With the advantages over SU8 methodology:
Ability to generate multiple traps over many planes allows production of droplets of any conceivable shapes.
Enables new manufacturing capabilities at the nano-scale polymerisation of the shaped particles possible.
Manipulation through cleaving and splitting, followed by polymerisation result in generation of ultrafine needles and probe tips. Overall the process offers excellent flexibility in use and applications.

Removes the need for a third material as a mould.
Stage of Development:
Available for demonstration
IPs:
Patents granted
CommeR Statunts Regarding IPR Status:
European Patent granted for the following European states:
AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC NL PL PT RO SE SI SK TR
Patents also held for USA, Japan and China

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
The ideal partner would be already operating and/or manufacturing for the paint and coatings market.
The role would be to identify appropriate applications for the technology and bring to market.

Client

Type and Size of Client:
R&D Institution
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Si
Languages Spoken:
English

Keywords

Technology Keywords:
02002016 Microingeniería y nanoingeniería
02007014 Plásticos, polímeros
02002015 Tratamiento superficial (pintado, galvanizado, pulido, CVD...)