In order to illustrate the team’s research, we selected some highlights.

Creating a new topic; femtoliter droplet technology

Fig 3: Femtoliter operations (with A. Griffiths): the figure shows the various operations demonstrated in our work, that allow to define the capabilities of femtoliter droplet based technology.

In a paper published in Lab on a Chip in 2015, and now cited 31 times, we demonstrated that all the operations made by microfluidic droplet technology can be performed in femtoliter droplets, i.e. droplets of micrometric sizes, three orders of magnitude smaller, in volume, than the standard droplets. The operations include mixing, PCR, splitting, coalescing, etc. The works extends the Moore law for microfluidic droplet technology by one decade. It will allow, in the future, to operate with higher frequencies and smaller volumes, fostering even more the impressive screening capabilities of droplet-based technology.

Droplets for acoustic delivery

In a series of papers published in the years 2013-2015 (including a JACS), we produced 4µm PFC microdroplets encapsulating submicrometric aqueous droplets. These droplets vaporize under the action of acoustic waves. We demonstrated that it is possible, with such droplets, to deliver solutes directly in the rat liver, with an unprecedented accuracy. This work opens new routes in the field of targeted drug delivery. It received 5 awards and obtained a journal cover (Medical Physics).

Measurement of the thickness of nanometric lubricating films beneath moving droplets.

Fig 4: Principle of the internal tattooing (with Langevin Institute): The diseased tissue is identified by medical imaging. The release of the optical marker is induced by focusing ultrasound pulses in the tissue to be resected. The defined zone then becomes observable by sight

The experimental tour de force we made was the measurement, with RICM technique, of the formation of nanometric films between droplets and walls as they move in microchannel. The information we extracted is important for the modelling of the dynamics of droplets in a Hele-Shaw geometry. The quite significant number of citations of the related PRL paper indicates the impact of this work regarding microfluidic droplet technology since its publication.

Fracture dynamics

We have built up new devices aimed at growing controlled mode I cracks in soft materials. Propagating cracks can be observed in conventional or confocal microscopy. Their shapes and the displacement fields around their tips can be analyzed independently, and departures from linear elasticity interpreted.

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See also...


Chollet, B., Li, Mengxing, Martwong, E., Bresson, B., Fretigny, C., Tabeling, P., Tran, Y., Multiscale surface-attached hydrogel thin films with (...) 

> More...


Patrick TABELING, Researcher Director at CNRS, is the leader of Microfluidic, MEMS and Nanostructures Team. Researchers Patrick TABELING (...) 

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Practical information

Elie Raphaël
elie.raphael (arobase)

Assistant Director
Olivier Dauchot
olivier.dauchot (arobase)

ESPCI Administrator
Hyo Jin Cho
hyo-jin.cho (arobase)

CNRS Administrator
Fée Sorrentino
fee.sorrentino (arobase)

To contact us