Orientation control and non-linear trajectory tracking of colloidal particles using microfluidics

Dinesh Kumar, Anish Shenoy, Channing M. Richter, Charles M. Schroeder

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Research Interests - My Ph.D. thesis research focuses on: (i) developing new tools for trapping and manipulatingmicro and nanoparticles in free solution using only fluid flow, and (ii) understanding the physics and emergentproperties of vesicle suspensions using these control-based techniques. To this end, I have developed a millisecondtime nonlinear model predictive control algorithm with real-time image processing (written in C++, LabVIEW andMATLAB) to control the center-of-mass and orientation of single and multiple anisotropic particle using only fluid flow.In tandem, I study the dynamics of lipid vesicles using fluidic trapping tools and advanced statistical tools. My researchhas direct implications to the processing of food active ingredient encapsulants, and personal care products such asshampoos and detergents. Overall, my Ph.D. research entails a distinct combination of numerical, experimental andtheoretical/modeling skills involving fluid dynamics, process control techniques, and numerical methods that hasprovided me with the confidence to address a wide spectrum of challenges faced by modern society. Abstract Text - In this work, we study the shape dynamics of vesicles in precisely defined steady or time-dependent flow fields using aStokes trap. Vesicles are membrane-bound soft containers that are often used for triggered release or reagent deliveryand play an integral role in key biological processes such as molecular transport in cells. Giant unilamellar vesicles(GUVs) have been used as model systems to study the equilibrium and non-equilibrium dynamics of simplified cellsthat do not contain a cytoskeleton or polymerized membrane commonly found in cells. A grand challenge in the field ofmembrane transport lies in understanding how interfacial mechanics and fluid dynamics on the inside or outside of asoft vesicle contributes to the overall shape instabilities. Here, we study the dynamics of single floppy vesicles underlarge strain rates (~20 s ) using a Stokes trap, which is a new technique developed in our lab for controlling thecenter-of-mass position of multiple particles or single molecules in a free solution. In this way, we directly observe thevesicle shape and conformations as a function of reduced volume,which is a measure of vesicle’s equilibrium shapeanisotropy. We observe the formation of asymmetric dumbbell shapes, pearling, and wrinkling and buckling instabilitiesfor vesicles depending upon the nature of flow and amount of membrane floppiness. We report the precise stabilityboundary of the flow-based phase diagram for vesicles in Capillary number ( Ca )-reduced volume space, where Ca isthe ratio of the bending time scale to that of flow time scale. We further probe the stability boundary at two differentviscosity ratios to understand how the onset of dumbbell shape instability in vesicles depends on viscosity ratio. Wealso present results on the long-time relaxation dynamics of vesicles from high deformation back to their equilibriumspheroidal shapes after the cessation of flow. We study vesicles with shapes ranging from symmetric to asymmetricdumbbells with a long thin tether (extremely large fractional extensions with flattened thermal fluctuations), and wereport on the influence of initial conditions in determining dynamic behavior. Using this approach, we study the non-equilibrium stretching dynamics of vesicles, including transient and steady state stretching dynamics in extensionalflow. Our results show that vesicle stretching dynamics are a strong function of reduced volume and viscosity ratio,such that the steady-state deformation of vesicles exhibits power-law behavior as a function of reduced Capillarynumber. We identify two distinct relaxation processes for vesicles stretched to high deformation, revealing twocharacteristic time scales: a short time scale corresponding to bending relaxation and a long-time scale dictated by themembrane tension. We further discuss a model to estimate the bending modulus of lipid membranes as a function ofvesicle reduced volume from the steady state stretching data. Overall, our results provide new insights into the flow-driven shape-dynamics for vesicles using new experimental methods based on the Stokes trap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2020 Virtual AIChE Annual Meeting
PublisherAmerican Institute of Chemical Engineers
ISBN (Electronic)9780816911141
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event2020 AIChE Annual Meeting - Virtual, Online
Duration: Nov 16 2020Nov 20 2020

Publication series

NameAIChE Annual Meeting, Conference Proceedings


Conference2020 AIChE Annual Meeting
CityVirtual, Online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Chemistry


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