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The present study deals with the effect of surfactants on the cross-stream migration of droplets in a confined fluidic environment, both experimentally and theoretically. Presence of an imposed flow induces droplet deformation and disturbs the equilibrium that results in subsequent surfactant redistribution along the interface. This further creates a gradient in surface tension, thus generating a Marangoni stress that significantly alters the droplet dynamics. On subsequent experimental investigation, it is found that presence of surfactants reduces the cross-stream migration velocity of the droplet. High-speed photography is utilized to visualize the transport of droplets in a microfluidic channel. It is shown that the channel confinement significantly enhances the surfactant-induced retardation of the droplet. In addition, a larger surfactant concentration is found to induce a greater reduction in cross-stream migration velocity of the droplet, the effect of which is reduced when the initial transverse position of the droplet is shifted closer to the channel centerline. To support our experimental results, an asymptotic approach is adopted to solve the flow field in the presence of bulk-insoluble surfactants and under the assumption of small shape deformation. A good match between our theoretical prediction and the experimental results is obtained. The present analysis provides us with a wide scope of application towards various droplet-based microfluidic as well as medical diagnostic devices where manipulation of droplet trajectory is a major issue.READ MORE