Electrowetting-based droplet mixers for microfluidic systems.
Mixing of analytes and reagents is a critical step in realizing a lab-on-a-chip. However, mixing of liquids is very difficult in continuous flow microfluidics due to laminar flow conditions. An alternative mixing strategy is presented based on the discretization of liquids into droplets and further manipulation of those droplets by electrowetting. The interfacial tensions of the droplets are controlled with the application of voltage. The droplets act as virtual mixing chambers, and mixing occurs by transporting the droplet across an electrode array. We also present an improved method for visualization of mixing where the top and side views of mixing are simultaneously observed. Microliters of liquid droplets are mixed in less than five seconds, which is an order of magnitude improvement in reported mixing times of droplets. Flow reversibility hinders the process of mixing during linear droplet motion. This mixing process is not physically confined and can be dynamically reconfigured to any location on the chip to improve the throughput of the lab-on-a-chip.
Paik, P; Pamula, VK; Pollack, MG; Fair, RB
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