Design and Validation of a Droplet-based Microfluidic System To Study Non-Photochemical Laser-Induced Nucleation of Potassium Chloride Solutions

Vikram Korede, Frederico Marques Penha, Vincent de Munck, Lotte Stam, Thomas Dubbelman, Nagaraj Nagalingam, Maheswari Gutta, Ping Ping Cui, Daniel Irimia, Antoine E.D.M. van der Heijden, Herman J.M. Kramer, Hüseyin Burak Eral*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Non-photochemical laser-induced nucleation (NPLIN) has emerged as a promising primary nucleation control technique offering spatiotemporal control over crystallization with potential for polymorph control. So far, NPLIN was mostly investigated in milliliter vials, through laborious manual counting of the crystallized vials by visual inspection. Microfluidics represents an alternative to acquiring automated and statistically reliable data. Thus we designed a droplet-based microfluidic platform capable of identifying the droplets with crystals emerging upon Nd:YAG laser irradiation using the deep learning method. In our experiments, we used supersaturated solutions of KCl in water, and the effect of laser intensity, wavelength (1064, 532, and 355 nm), solution supersaturation (S), solution filtration, and intentional doping with nanoparticles on the nucleation probability is quantified and compared to control cooling crystallization experiments. Ability of dielectric polarization and the nanoparticle heating mechanisms proposed for NPLIN to explain the acquired results is tested. Solutions with lower supersaturation (S = 1.05) exhibit significantly higher NPLIN probabilities than those in the control experiments for all laser wavelengths above a threshold intensity (50 MW/cm2). At higher supersaturation studied (S = 1.10), irradiation was already effective at lower laser intensities (10 MW/cm2). No significant wavelength effect was observed besides irradiation with 355 nm light at higher laser intensities (≥50 MW/cm2). Solution filtration and intentional doping experiments showed that nanoimpurities might play a significant role in explaining NPLIN phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6067-6080
JournalCrystal Growth and Design
Volume23
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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