Transmittance tuning by particle chain polarization in electrowetting-driven droplets

Shih-Kang Fan, Cheng-Pu Chiu, Po-Wen Huang
Biomicrofluidics 2010, 4 (4): 43011
A tiny droplet containing nano∕microparticles commonly handled in digital microfluidic lab-on-a-chip is regarded as a micro-optical component with tunable transmittance at programmable positions for the application of micro-opto-fluidic-systems. Cross-scale electric manipulations of droplets on a millimeter scale as well as suspended particles on a micrometer scale are demonstrated by electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) and particle chain polarization, respectively. By applying electric fields at proper frequency ranges, EWOD and polarization can be selectively achieved in designed and fabricated parallel plate devices. At low frequencies, the applied signal generates EWOD to pump suspension droplets. The evenly dispersed particles reflect and∕or absorb the incident light to exhibit a reflective or dark droplet. When sufficiently high frequencies are used on to the nonsegmented parallel electrodes, a uniform electric field is established across the liquid to polarize the dispersed neutral particles. The induced dipole moments attract the particles each other to form particle chains and increase the transmittance of the suspension, demonstrating a transmissive or bright droplet. In addition, the reflectance of the droplet is measured at various frequencies with different amplitudes.

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