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Methods of Generating Microparticles and Porous Hydrogels Using Microfluidics

UW ID: 15-093


Description of Technology

          Manufacturers use polymers to make plastics and other materials. Polymerization is a method of forming monomer chains to create bigger polymers. The size and shape of these polymers can be changed based on how the polymerization is undertaken. Currently, polymerization proceeds in an open-air environment. Such an environment presents a number of challenges, the most prominent one being oxygen which can inhibit the polymerization process.

          Researchers at the University of Wyoming devised a way to negate the issue of oxygen inhibiting polymerization by creating a system that purges all the oxygen in an environment and replaces it with nitrogen. The cells and prepolymer solution are mixed with and carried into the nitrogen environment by an oil. The polymerization then occurs as the mixture flows down channels. This allows for the process to be continuous and for a mass production of particles. The polymerization carried out in this setting can create much smaller polymers with lower monomer concentration compared to current methods because the oxygen is not inhibiting the process.



          This new method’s ability to polymerize small polymers gives the end user a greater choice of what size of polymer they want to create. The small polymers also extend the uses of polymerization past what was previously possible. These polymers can be used for many biological applications such as drug delivery, tissue engineering, and stem cell therapies. Since the method is continuous and has the ability to mass produce microparticles, it can be used in an industrial setting for manufacturing.


Features & Benefits

  • Creates an oxygen-controlled environment to negate troubles with oxygen during polymerization for stable particle photopolymerization on a chip

  • Creates polymers with a lower monomer concentration and smaller size than methods before allowing producers to select the exact size needed for the application

  • Continuous process for mass production

Downloadable PDF: 15-093


John Oakey

Kaspars Krutkramelis

Bingzhao Xia


Patent Status:  

Utility Patent


Contact Us: 

University of Wyoming Technology Transfer and Research Products Center 

Dept. 3672

1000 E. University Ave. 

Laramie, WY 


Phone: 307-766-2520

Fax: 307-766-2530


Contact Us

Wyoming Technology Transfer and Research Products Center

Dept. 3672

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-2520

Fax: (307) 766-2530


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