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Digital microfluidics

About: Digital microfluidics is a research topic. Over the lifetime, 936 publications have been published within this topic receiving 34805 citations.


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TL;DR: In this paper, the authors compare the various approaches used to derive the basic electrowetting equation, which has been shown to be very reliable as long as the applied voltage is not too high.
Abstract: Electrowetting has become one of the most widely used tools for manipulating tiny amounts of liquids on surfaces. Applications range from 'lab-on-a-chip' devices to adjustable lenses and new kinds of electronic displays. In the present article, we review the recent progress in this rapidly growing field including both fundamental and applied aspects. We compare the various approaches used to derive the basic electrowetting equation, which has been shown to be very reliable as long as the applied voltage is not too high. We discuss in detail the origin of the electrostatic forces that induce both contact angle reduction and the motion of entire droplets. We examine the limitations of the electrowetting equation and present a variety of recent extensions to the theory that account for distortions of the liquid surface due to local electric fields, for the finite penetration depth of electric fields into the liquid, as well as for finite conductivity effects in the presence of AC voltage. The most prominent failure of the electrowetting equation, namely the saturation of the contact angle at high voltage, is discussed in a separate section. Recent work in this direction indicates that a variety of distinct physical effects?rather than a unique one?are responsible for the saturation phenomenon, depending on experimental details. In the presence of suitable electrode patterns or topographic structures on the substrate surface, variations of the contact angle can give rise not only to continuous changes of the droplet shape, but also to discontinuous morphological transitions between distinct liquid morphologies. The dynamics of electrowetting are discussed briefly. Finally, we give an overview of recent work aimed at commercial applications, in particular in the fields of adjustable lenses, display technology, fibre optics, and biotechnology-related microfluidic devices.

1,962 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors report the completion of four fundamental fluidic operations considered essential to build digital microfluidic circuits, which can be used for lab-on-a-chip or micro total analysis system (/spl mu/TAS): 1) creating, 2) transporting, 3) cutting, and 4) merging liquid droplets, all by electrowetting.
Abstract: Reports the completion of four fundamental fluidic operations considered essential to build digital microfluidic circuits, which can be used for lab-on-a-chip or micro total analysis system (/spl mu/TAS): 1) creating, 2) transporting, 3) cutting, and 4) merging liquid droplets, all by electrowetting, i.e., controlling the wetting property of the surface through electric potential. The surface used in this report is, more specifically, an electrode covered with dielectrics, hence, called electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD). All the fluidic movement is confined between two plates, which we call parallel-plate channel, rather than through closed channels or on open surfaces. While transporting and merging droplets are easily verified, we discover that there exists a design criterion for a given set of materials beyond which the droplet simply cannot be cut by EWOD mechanism. The condition for successful cutting is theoretically analyzed by examining the channel gap, the droplet size and the degree of contact angle change by electrowetting on dielectric (EWOD). A series of experiments is run and verifies the criterion.

1,522 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a microactuator for rapid manipulation of discrete microdroplets is presented, which is accomplished by direct electrical control of the surface tension through two sets of opposing planar electrodes fabricated on glass.
Abstract: A microactuator for rapid manipulation of discrete microdroplets is presented. Microactuation is accomplished by direct electrical control of the surface tension through two sets of opposing planar electrodes fabricated on glass. A prototype device consisting of a linear array of seven electrodes at 1.5 mm pitch was fabricated and tested. Droplets (0.7–1.0 μl) of 100 mM KCl solution were successfully transferred between adjacent electrodes at voltages of 40–80 V. Repeatable transport of droplets at electrode switching rates of up to 20 Hz and average velocities of 30 mm/s have been demonstrated. This speed represents a nearly 100-fold increase over previously demonstrated electrical methods for the transport of droplets on solid surfaces.

1,471 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This work presents an alternative paradigm--a fully integrated and reconfigurable droplet-based "digital" microfluidic lab-on-a-chip for clinical diagnostics on human physiological fluids, and demonstrates reliable and repeatable high-speed transport of microdroplets.
Abstract: Clinical diagnostics is one of the most promising applications for microfluidic lab-on-a-chip systems, especially in a point-of-care setting. Conventional microfluidic devices are usually based on continuous-flow in microchannels, and offer little flexibility in terms of reconfigurability and scalability. Handling of real physiological samples has also been a major challenge in these devices. We present an alternative paradigm—a fully integrated and reconfigurable droplet-based “digital” microfluidic lab-on-a-chip for clinical diagnostics on human physiological fluids. The microdroplets, which act as solution-phase reaction chambers, are manipulated using the electrowetting effect. Reliable and repeatable high-speed transport of microdroplets of human whole blood, serum, plasma, urine, saliva, sweat and tear, is demonstrated to establish the basic compatibility of these physiological fluids with the electrowetting platform. We further performed a colorimetric enzymatic glucose assay on serum, plasma, urine, and saliva, to show the feasibility of performing bioassays on real samples in our system. The concentrations obtained compare well with those obtained using a reference method, except for urine, where there is a significant difference due to interference by uric acid. A lab-on-a-chip architecture, integrating previously developed digital microfluidic components, is proposed for integrated and automated analysis of multiple analytes on a monolithic device. The lab-on-a-chip integrates sample injection, on-chip reservoirs, droplet formation structures, fluidic pathways, mixing areas and optical detection sites, on the same substrate. The pipelined operation of two glucose assays is shown on a prototype digital microfluidic lab-on-chip, as a proof-of-concept.

1,124 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Richard B. Fair1
TL;DR: To understand the opportunities and limitations of EWD microfluidics, this paper looks at the development of lab-on-chip applications in a hierarchical approach.
Abstract: The suitability of electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWD) microfluidics for true lab-on-a-chip applications is discussed. The wide diversity in biomedical applications can be parsed into manageable components and assembled into architecture that requires the advantages of being programmable, reconfigurable, and reusable. This capability opens the possibility of handling all of the protocols that a given laboratory application or a class of applications would require. And, it provides a path toward realizing the true lab-on-a-chip. However, this capability can only be realized with a complete set of elemental fluidic components that support all of the required fluidic operations. Architectural choices are described along with the realization of various biomedical fluidic functions implemented in on-chip electrowetting operations. The current status of this EWD toolkit is discussed. However, the question remains: which applications can be performed on a digital microfluidic platform? And, are there other advantages offered by electrowetting technology, such as the programming of different fluidic functions on a common platform (reconfigurability)? To understand the opportunities and limitations of EWD microfluidics, this paper looks at the development of lab-on-chip applications in a hierarchical approach. Diverse applications in biotechnology, for example, will serve as the basis for the requirements for electrowetting devices. These applications drive a set of biomedical fluidic functions required to perform an application, such as cell lysing, molecular separation, or analysis. In turn, each fluidic function encompasses a set of elemental operations, such as transport, mixing, or dispensing. These elemental operations are performed on an elemental set of components, such as electrode arrays, separation columns, or reservoirs. Examples of the incorporation of these principles in complex biomedical applications are described.

1,094 citations


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Performance
Metrics
No. of papers in the topic in previous years
YearPapers
202346
202281
202146
202048
201958
201842