Water in Oil Emulsions

Water in oil emulsions (W/O) form the basis manufacturing techniques widely used in the industrial and R&D environments to manufacture droplets (e.g., for compartmentalization applications), hydrogel beads (e.g., alginate, agarose, or polyacrylamide), and polymer beads (e.g., acrylic, vinyl, and ethyl-based). Of particular importance is the ability to produce high-quality, monodisperse droplets and the ability to do so reproducibly and at a viable production rate.

The combination of Fluigent pressure pump units and Raydrop microfluidic devices developed and manufactured by Secoya enable smooth fluid delivery, precision flowrate control, automation, and reproducibility necessary to generate high-quality water in oil emulsions.

Developed and manufactured by Secoya

Materials and methods


Droplet Phase: Water (Mili Q) 

Continuous phase: Decane + 2% (wt) SPAN 80  

ReagentSupplierCatalogue numberCAS Number
WaterUltrapure 18.2 MΩ – cm7732-18-5
DecaneSigma AldrichD901124-18-5
SPAN 80Sigma Aldrich8.401231338-43-8

Microfluidic Setup

The microfluidic setup was composed of:

Protocols steps

Water in oil-Scheme of the fluidic setup
Figure 1: Scheme of the fluidic setup
Pictures of the Fluigent equipment
Figure 2: Pictures of the Fluigent equipment


Continuous phase flowrate
Droplet phase flowrate
Droplet diameter
Production rate
Water in oil droplet phase diagram
Figure 3: Droplet phase diagram
Water in oil - droplets in decane

Figure 4: Images of water droplets in decane generated using Fluigent equipment and Raydrop microfluidic device


Fluigent pressure based flow controller units and Raydrop microfluidic device were successfully used to generate high-quality, monodisperse droplets of water in hydrocarbon oil. The droplet size was controlled in the range of 75 – 94 μm by adjusting the continuous and dispersed phase flowrates. Peak stable droplet production rate was recorded for 75 μm droplets at 754 Hz. The production techniques developed here can be extended to the generation of hydrogel, protein, or polymer beads by adding appropriate post-processing steps

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