High-speed droplet actuation on single-plate electrode arrays

Arghya Narayan Banerjee, Shizhi Qian, Sang Woo Joo
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 2011 October 15, 362 (2): 567-74
This paper reports a droplet-based microfluidic device composed of patterned co-planar electrodes in an all-in-a-single-plate arrangement and coated with dielectric layers for electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) actuation of discrete droplets. The co-planar arrangement is preferred over conventional two-plate electrowetting devices because it provides simpler manufacturing process, reduced viscous drag, and easier liquid-handling procedures. These advantages lead to more versatile and efficient microfluidic devices capable of generating higher droplet speed and can incorporate various other droplet manipulation functions into the system for biological, sensing, and other microfluidic applications. We have designed, fabricated, and tested the devices using an insulating layer with materials having relatively high dielectric constant (SiO(2)) and compared the results with polymer coatings (Cytop) with low dielectric constant. Results show that the device with high dielectric layer generates more reproducible droplet transfer over a longer distance with a 25% reduction in the actuation voltage with respect to the polymer coatings, leading to more energy efficient microfluidic applications. We can generate droplet speeds as high as 26 cm/s using materials with high dielectric constant such as SiO(2).

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