Mariko Storey-Matsutani ’25
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Microfluidics for Sustainability: Liquid Entrapment and Diffusiophoresis in Action
Certificate(s): Robotics and Intelligent Systems
My research focused on a novel method for microplastic particle separation that employs diffusiophoresis – the spontaneous migration of particles that are suspended in a solute with a concentration gradient. Diffusiophoretic particle separation offers a promising alternative to traditional filtration methods, which are hindered by energy inefficiency, high pumping costs, and membrane fouling. In my experiments, I used microfluidic channels to flow particle solutions through an induced CO2 ion concentration gradient. I then used fluorescence microscopy and image analysis programs such as ImageJ and MATLAB to investigate the maximum particle exclusion zone width as affected by variation in the solution flow rate, CO2 gas pressure, and microplastic particle diameter. Beyond this primary research objective, I contributed to microfluidic experiments investigating pore entrapment with applications in CO2 capture technology, and I proposed new ideas for microplastic particle separation that combines diffusiophoresis, inertial focusing, and pore entrapment. In addition to the further development of my technical and interpersonal skills, this internship enlightened me in how research can tackle real-world problems and has inspired me to continue to pursue my interest in sustainable innovation.
Water and the Environment
Complex Fluids Group, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University - Princeton, New Jersey
Howard Stone, Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Samantha McBride, Postdoctoral Research Associate and Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Fernando Temprano-Coleto, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment