A review of microfluidic concepts and applications for atmospheric aerosol science

Microfluidics is used in a broad range of applications, from biology and medicine to chemistry and polymer science, because this versatile platform enables rapid and precise repeatability of measurements and experiments on a relatively low-cost laboratory platform. Despite wide-ranging uses, this powerful research platform remains under-utilized by the atmospheric aerosol science community. This review will summarize selected microfluidic concepts and tools with potential applications to aerosol science. Where appropriate, the basic operating conditions and tunable parameters in microfluidics will be compared to typical aerosol experimental methods. Microfluidics offers a number of advantages over larger-scale experiments; for example, the small volumes of sample required for experiments open a number of avenues for sample collection that are accessible to the aerosol community. Filter extraction, spot sampling, and particle-into-liquid sampling techniques could all be used to capture aerosol samples to supply microfluidic measurements and experiments. Microfluidic concepts, such as device geometries for creating emulsions and developments in particle and droplet manipulation techniques will be reviewed, and current and potential microfluidic applications to aerosol science will be discussed.

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