Concepts for efficient preparation of particulate polymer carrier systems by droplet-based microfluidics


Droplet-based microfluidics has grown out of its infancy as technical solutions became available for a broad community of researchers aiming at highly defined structures of polymer-based drug carrier systems. While the beauty of obtained particles and the precision of their (continuous) production may be very fascinating from a scientific perspective, microfluidics is further developing towards the use in production processes. This review summarizes recent concepts and developments in droplet-based microfluidics covering theoretical aspects of the operation principle as well as approaches to increased throughput and thus to enable efficient production. The application of microfluidic templating for preparing functional polymer particles including dispersions of preformed polymers, multicompartment particles and the use of template droplets as microreactors for carrier synthesis are also included. When operated at high-throughput, in a continuous process and with excellent control over particle properties, microfluidics may become a preparation technique for particulate carriers competitive to batch emulsification not only in research but also for commercial fabrication, e.g., of individualized, patient-specific formulations.
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