Surface Tension Confined (STC) Tracks for Capillary-Driven Transport of Low Surface Tension Liquids
Schutzius, Thomas M.
Tiwari, Manish K.
Megaridis, Constantine M.
PublisherRoyal Society of Chemistry
MetadataShow full item record
Surface tension confined (STC) open tracks for pumpless transport of low-surface tension liquids (e.g., acetone, ethanol, hexadecane) on microfluidic chips are fabricated using a large-area, wet-processing technique. Wettable, paraffin-wax, submillimeter-wide tracks are applied by a fountain-pen procedure on superoleophobic, fluoroacrylic-carbon nanofiber (CNF) composite coatings. The fabricated anisotropic wetting patterns confine the low-surface-tension liquids onto the flow tracks, driving them with meniscus velocities up to 3.1 cm s(-1). Scaling arguments and Washburn's equation provide estimates of the liquid velocities measured in the STC tracks. These tracks are also shown to act as rails for directional sliding control of mm-sized water droplets. The present facile top-down patterned wettability approach can be extended to deposit micrometer-wide tracks, which bear promise for pumpless handling of low-surface tension liquids (e.g., aqueous solutions containing alcohols or surfactants) in lab-on-a-chip type applications or in low power, high-throughput bio-microfluidics for health care applications.