Dr. Daniele Vigolo

Postdoctoral Researcher

Daniele received his Laurea in Nuclear Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano in 2006. At the same institution, in 2010, he got his Ph.D. in Radiation Science and Technology working on "Thermophoresis in complex fluids" under the supervision of Prof. Roberto Piazza. He investigated the behavior of colloidal suspension in a temperature gradient with optical methods (e.g., the beam deflection technique), and in microfluidic devices during his internship at Harvard University in the group of Prof. Howard A. Stone.
In 2011 he moved to Princeton University working as a Postdoctoral research associate in the Complex Fluids Group of Prof. Howard A. Stone. Here he worked on an experimental and theoretical fluid mechanical investigation of particle-wall impacts and air-bubble behavior in a T-junction. He also developed a microfluidic microbial fuel cell and investigated the dependence of the electric output on the shear stress induced by the flow.
In December 2012 Daniele joined the deMello group at ETH Zurich after been awarded of the ETH Postdoctoral Fellowship (Marie Curie Actions).

To know more about Daniele's recent work please visit his website: www.danielevigolo.com


J. Feng, M. Roché, D. Vigolo, L. N. Arnaudov, S. D. Stoyanov, T. D. Gurkov, G. G. Tsutsumanova, and H. A. Stone. Nanoemulsions obtained via bubble bursting at a compound interface. Nature Physics, DOI:10.1038/nphys3003, 2014.

Bursting of bubbles at an air/liquid interface is a familiar occurrence relevant to foam stability, cell cultures in bioreactors and ocean–atmosphere mass transfer. In the latter case, bubble-bursting leads to the dispersal of sea-water aerosols in the surrounding air. Here we show that bubbles bursting at a compound air/oil/water-with-surfactant interface can disperse submicrometre oil droplets in water. Dispersal results from the detachment of an oil spray from the bottom of the bubble towards water during bubble collapse. We provide evidence that droplet size is selected by physicochemical interactions between oil molecules and the surfactants rather than by hydrodynamics. We demonstrate the unrecognized role that this dispersal mechanism may play in the fate of the sea surface microlayer and of pollutant spills by dispersing petroleum in the water column. Finally, our system provides an energy-efficient route, with potential upscalability, for applications in drug delivery, food production and materials science.

Daniele Vigolo, Talal T. Al-Housseiny, Yi Shen, Fiyinfoluwa O. Akinlawon, Saif T. Al-Housseiny, Ronald K. Hobson, Amaresh Sahu, Katherine I. Bedkowski, Thomas J. DiChristina and Howard A Stone. Flow dependent performance of microfluidic microbial fuel cells. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 16 (24): 12535 - 12543, 2014.

The integration of Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) in a microfluidic geometry can significantly enhance the power density of these cells, which would have more active bacteria per unit volume. Moreover, microfluidic MFCs can be operated in a continuous mode as opposed to the traditional batch-fed mode. Here we investigate the effect of fluid flow on the performance of microfluidic MFCs. The growth and the structure of the bacterial biofilm depend to a large extent on the shear stress of the flow. We report the existence of a range of flow rates for which MFCs can achieve maximum voltage output. When operated under these optimal conditions, the power density of our microfluidic MFC is about 15 times that of a similar-size batch MFC. Furthermore, this optimum suggests a correlation between the behaviour of bacteria and fluid flow.

Daniele Vigolo, Stefan Radl, and Howard A. Stone. Unexpected trapping of particles at a T junction. PNAS, 2014, 111 (13), 4770-4775

A common element in physiological flow networks, as well as most domestic and industrial piping systems, is a T junction that splits the flow into two nearly symmetric streams. It is reasonable to assume that any particles suspended in a fluid that enters the bifurcation will leave it with the fluid. Here we report experimental evidence and a theoretical description of a trapping mechanism for low-density particles in steady and pulsatile flows through T-shaped junctions. This mechanism induces accumulation of particles, which can form stable chains, or give rise to significant growth of bubbles due to coalescence. In particular, low-density material dispersed in the continuous phase fluid interacts with a vortical flow that develops at the T junction. As a result suspended particles can enter the vortices and, for a wide range of common flow conditions, the particles do not leave the bifurcation. Via 3D numerical simulations and a model of the two-phase flow we predict the location of particle accumulation, which is in excellent agreement with experimental data. We identify experimentally, as well as confirm by numerical simulations and a simple force balance, that there is a wide parameter space in which this phenomenon occurs. The trapping effect is expected to be important for the design of particle separation and fractionation devices, as well as used for better understanding of system failures in piping networks relevant to industry and physiology.

Daniele Vigolo, Ian M. Griffiths, Stefan Radl and Howard A. Stone. An experimental and theoretical investigation of particle–wall impacts in a T-junction. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2013, 727, pp 236-255

Understanding the behaviour of particles entrained in a fluid flow upon changes in flow direction is crucial in problems where particle inertia is important, such as the erosion process in pipe bends. We present results on the impact of particles in a T-shaped channel in the laminar–turbulent transitional regime. The impacting event for a given system is described in terms of the Reynolds number and the particle Stokes number. Experimental results for the impact are compared with the trajectories predicted by theoretical particle-tracing models for a range of configurations to determine the role of the viscous boundary layer in retarding the particles and reducing the rate of collision with the substrate. In particular, a two-dimensional model based on a stagnation-point flow is used together with three-dimensional numerical simulations. We show how the simple two-dimensional model provides a tractable way of understanding the general collision behaviour, while more advanced three-dimensional simulations can be helpful in understanding the details of the flow.

Simon Wongsuwarn, Daniele Vigolo, Roberto Cerbino, Andrew M. Howe, Alberto Vailati, Roberto Piazza, Pietro Cicuta. Giant thermophoresis of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) microgel particles. Soft Matter, 2012, 8 (21), 5857-5863

Thermophoresis is the rectification of Brownian motion induced by the presence of a thermal gradient del T, yielding a net drift of colloidal particles along or against the direction of del T. The effect is known to depend on the specific interactions between solute and solvent, and quantitative theoretical models are lacking except in a few simple experimental cases. Both the order of magnitude and the temperature dependence of the thermophoretic mobility D-T are known to be very similar for a wide class of aqueous colloidal systems, ranging from latex colloids to polymers, surfactant micelles, proteins, and DNA. Here we show that thermoresponsive microgel particles made of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) do not share, in the temperature range around the theta-point, these common features. Instead, D-T displays an unusually strong temperature dependence, maintaining a linear growth across the collapse transition. This behaviour is not shared by linear PNIPAM chains, for which existing data show D-T falling at the transition, with similar values between the expanded coil and collapsed globule states away from the transition point. A possible connection of the observed giant temperature dependence of D-T to microgel hydration is suggested.

Daniele Vigolo, Roberto Rusconi, Howard A. Stone and Roberto Piazza. Thermophoresis: microfluidics characterization and separation. Soft Matter, 2010, 6 (15), 3489-3493

We show that thermophoresis, i.e., mass flow driven by thermal gradients, can be used to drive particle motion in microfluidic devices exploiting suitable temperature control strategies. Due to its high sensitivity to particle/solvent interfacial properties, this method presents several advantages in terms of selectivity compared to standard particle manipulation techniques. Moreover, we show that selective driving of particles to the cold or to the hot side can be achieved by adding specific electrolytes and exploiting the additional thermoelectric effect stemming from their differential thermal responsiveness.

Daniele Vigolo, Stefano Buzzaccaro and Roberto Piazza. Thermophoresis and Thermoelectricity in Surfactant Solutions. Langmuir, 2010, 26 (11), 7792-7801

In electrolyte solutions, the differential migration of the ionic species induced by the presence of a thermal gradient leads to the buildup la steady-state electric field. Similarly to what happens for the Seebeck effect in solids, the sample behaves therefore as a thermocell. Here, we provide clear evidence for the presence of thermoelectric fields in liquids by detecting and quantifying their strong effects on colloid thermophoresis. Specifically, by contrasting the effects of the addition of NaCI or NaOH on the Soret effect of micellar solutions of sodium dodecyl sulfate, we show that the presence of highly thermally responsive ions such as OH- may easily lead to the reversal of particle motion. Our experimental results can he quantitatively explained by a simple model that takes into account interparticle interactions and explicitly includes the micellar electrophoretic transport driven by such a thermally generated electric field. The chance of carefully controlling colloid thermophoresis by tuning the solvent electrolyte composition may prove to be very useful in microfluidic applications and field-flow fractionation methods.

Daniele Vigolo, Roberto Rusconi, Roberto Piazza and Howard A. Stone. A portable device for temperature control along microchannels. Lab on a Chip, 2010, 10 (6), 795-798

For many physical, chemical and biological measurements, temperature is a crucial parameter to control. In particular, the recent development of microreactors and chip-based technologies requires integrated thermostatic systems. However, the requirements of disposability and visual inspection of a device under a microscope cannot accommodate equipment such as external heaters. By exploiting a silver-filled epoxy that can be injected and solidified in a microfluidic chip, we demonstrate a simple and inexpensive design of a conductive path, which allows heating by the Joule effect of both sides of a microchannel. In addition to permitting the maintenance of a constant temperature along the channel walls, our method can control the temperature gradient across the channel, thus enabling non-equilibrium studies in a microfluidic geometry.

Stefano Buzzaccaro, Antonio Tripodi, Roberto Rusconi, Daniele Vigolo and Roberto Piazza. Kinetics of sedimentation in colloidal suspensions. J. Phys. Cond. Matter, 2008, 20 (49), 494219

Measuring the concentration profiles induced by gravity settling is known to be an efficient route to obtain the equation of state of a colloidal suspension, to inspect the fine details of the phase diagram and to provide clues on the nature of metastable phases. Here we show that a careful analysis of the transient settling profiles may add valuable information for what concerns colloidal hydrodynamics. In particular, we show that a numerical inversion of a kinetic profile yields the full hydrodynamic factor K(Phi) up to the concentration of the original unsettled suspension, and that the dilute part of the profile yields a 'dynamic' gravitation length also related to K(Phi). These predictions are tested on a suspension of monodisperse hard and sticky spheres. Finally we describe and test a novel optical method, allowing us to measure sedimentation profiles on a wide class of colloidal systems, even in the presence of a noticeable turbidity.

Marco Braibanti, Daniele Vigolo and Roberto Piazza. Does thermophoretic mobility depend on particle size?. Physical Review Letters, 2008, 100 (10), 108303-1-4

Thermophoresis is particle drift induced by a temperature gradient. By measuring the full temperature dependence of this effect for polystyrene latex suspensions, we show that the thermophoretic mobility (or "thermal diffusion coefficient") D(T) is basically independent on particle size, in particular, when the interfacial properties of the colloidal particles are carefully standardized by adsorbing a surfactant layer on the particle surface. Even more, all investigated systems show values of D(T) which are very close to those measured for simple micellar solutions of the adsorbed surfactant. Our findings could be of relevance for downsizing microfluidics to the nanometric range.

Daniele Vigolo, Giovanni Brambilla and Roberto Piazza. Thermophoresis of microemulsion droplets: Size dependence of the Soret effect. Physical Review E, 2007, 75 (4), 40401-1-4

Thermophoresis, akin to thermal diffusion in simple fluid mixtures, consists of particle drift induced by a temperature gradient. Notwithstanding its practical interest, the dependence of thermophoretic effects on particle size R is still theoretically and experimentally debated. By performing measurements of water-in-oil microemulsion droplets with tunable size, we show that the thermal diffusion coefficient, at least for a suspension of small particles in a nonpolar solvent, does not appreciably depend on R.