A Programmable Array for Contact-Free Manipulation of Floating Droplets on Featureless Substrates by the Modulation of Surface Tension

A.S. Basu, Y.B. Gianchandani
2009 Journal of microelectromechanical systems  
This paper presents a contactless droplet manipulation system that relies on thermally generated Marangoni flows. Programmable 2-D control of aqueous microdroplets suspended in an oil film on a plain featureless glass substrate is achieved using a 128-pixel heater array suspended 100-500 μm above the oil layer. The heaters generate surface temperature perturbations (< 25 • C), resulting in local Marangoni flows that can move droplets in either a push or a pull mode. Programmed movement is
more » ... d movement is achieved by the sequential activation of the heaters, with digital control circuitry and a graphical interface providing addressable control of each heater. Droplets with diameters of 300-1000 μm are manipulated and merged at speeds up to 140 μm/s. Evaporation rates can be reduced by almost two orders of magnitude by using a two-layer-oil medium, and the choice of an optimum carrier fluid can achieve fluid velocities over 17 000 μm/s. The system provides a contactless platform for parallel droplet-based assays. As such, it circumvents the challenges of sample contamination and loss that occur when a droplet interacts with a solid surface. [2008-0272]
doi:10.1109/jmems.2009.2029961 fatcat:suhdw7bmmvdedbbgepa7wjdwsm