Computational protocol: Microfluidic colloid filtration

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[…] We fabricate the microfluidic channel geometries via soft lithography in PDMS. The microfluidic chip is connected to a syringe pump (Chemyx Nexus 3000) using polyethylene tubing. The dispersion of microgels is fed into the chip using the syringe pump. The morphology of the filter cake and the path of the smaller hard particles is observed using a confocal laser scanning microscope (Leica SP8) (see ). The channel dimensions are width = 500 μm and height = 11 μm.The particles used for the filter cake are core-shell soft microgels. The core is made from poly(2,2,2-triuoroethyl mmethacrylate) (PMMA) labeled with Nile Red with a diameter of 300 nm. The soft shell is made from Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (pNIPAM) using dispersion polymerization to a diameter of 2.2 μm. The hard particles are essentially cores of the previous particles without shells, made from PMMA labeled with Coumarin 153 and a diameter of 300 nm.Image analysis is performed using ImageJ and custom python code. ImageJ is used for tracking particle positions, the python libraries pandas and matplotlib are used for post processing of the tracked positions. Smoothing was performed with a filter kernel width of 10 and the particle speed was obtained with a differencing step of 5, using the pandas python library. Sensitivity analysis supports the choice of the kernel and step widths, see . […]

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