Emulsions on demand using microstructured devices

Christian Mahe, Jean F. Tranchant, Melanie Tromeur, Norbert Schwesinger

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Emulsions are very common in the field of cosmetics. Unfortunately, most emulsions contain ineffective substances to increase the stability of the products for a long time. These stabilizers can cause some severe healthy problems in several cases. One possible solution is the production of emulsions on demand to prevent the use of stabilizers. Stable emulsion can be achieved if the diameters of the droplets of one solution surrounded by a second solution are smaller than 1 μm. Microstructured devices are suited in principle to generate such droplet distributions. Basic task of the development was a micro emulsifier that can be integrated into cosmetic flacons and that can deliver emulsions on demand by pressing a human fingertip onto a part of the flacon. Standardized cosmetic flacons have been used as basic devices. They consist of two separate glass bottles for two different liquid phases and two mechanical pumps integrated in a multifunctional cap. Regarding the viscosity ranges of the two liquids different microemulsifier structures have been developed. External dimensions and connections of the device have been chosen in a way that allows an integration of the devices into the cap. The second design conists of several streaming paths in parallel that allow a reduction of the pressure drop. Furthermore, it consists of three structured silicon chips bonded together. Emulsions with a stability of about 15...30 min have been achieved without any stabilizers. External forces of less than ION were sufficient to generate emulsions on demand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-296
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
EventMicrofluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 27 Jan 200329 Jan 2003


  • Design
  • Droplet distribution
  • Emulsification
  • Microemulsifier
  • Velocity pressure


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