Hydrophilic modification of SLA 3D printed droplet generators by photochemical grafting

Tristan W. Bacha, Dylan C. Manuguerra, Robert A. Marano, Joseph F. Stanzione

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Few droplet generators manufactured using desktop stereolithography 3D printers have been reported in the literature. Moreover, 3D printed microfluidic chips are typically hydrophobic, limiting their application to water in oil droplets. Herein, we present designs for concentric and planar 3D printed microfluidic devices suitable for making polymeric microparticles using an off-the-shelf commercial stereolithography printer and resin. The devices consist of a microscope slide, binder clips, and printed components. Channels were modified by an ultraviolet grafting of methacrylic acid to the surface of chips, yielding a hydrophilic coating without modification to the bulk polymer. The water contact angle decreased from 97.0° to 25.4° after grafting. The presence of the coating was confirmed by microscopy and spectroscopy techniques. Polystyrene microparticles in the <100 μm size range were generated with varying molecular weights using the described microfluidic chips. Our work provides a facile method to construct droplet generators from commercial stereolithography printers and resins, and a rapid surface modification technique that has been under-utilized in 3D printed microfluidics. A wide range of microfluidic devices for other applications can be engineered using the methods described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21745-21753
Number of pages9
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number35
StatePublished - Jun 18 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Hydrophilic modification of SLA 3D printed droplet generators by photochemical grafting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this