Asymmetric Electrowetting – Moving Droplets by a Square Wave

Abstract

Here droplet oscillation and continuous pumping are demonstrated by asymmetric electrowetting on an open surface with embedded electrodes powered by a square wave electrical signal without control circuits. The polarity effect of electrowetting on an SU-8 and Teflon coated electrode is investigated, and it is found that the V (contact angle–applied voltage) curve is asymmetric along the V = 0 axis by sessile drop and coplanar electrode experiments. A systematic deviation of measured contact angles from the theoretical ones is observed when the electrode beneath the droplet is negatively biased. In the sessile drop experiment, up to a 10° increment of contact angle is measured on a negatively biased electrode. In addition, a coplanar electrode experiment is designed to examine the contact angles at the same applied potential but opposite polarities on two sides of one droplet at the same time. The design of the coplanar electrodes is then expanded to oscillate and transport droplets on square-wave-powered symmetric (square) and asymmetric (polygon) electrodes to demonstrate manipulation capability on an open surface. The frequency of oscillation and the speed of transportation are determined by the frequency of the applied square wave and the pitch of the electrodes. Droplets with different volumes are tested by square waves of varied frequencies and amplitudes. The 1.0 µl droplet is successfully transported on a device with a loop of 24 electrodes continuously at a speed up to 23.6 mm s–1 when a 9 Hz square wave is applied.

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