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Formation, Growth and Applications of Femtoliter Droplets on Microlens


Formation and growth of nanodroplets on surface microstructures are important in many fundamental and practical interfacial processes, such as water collection, vapour condensation in cooling device, drop self-removal on anti-icing surfaces and fabrication of droplet-templated functional microstructures. In this work, we experimentally and theoretically investigate the growth of femtoliter oil-like liquid on the microlens surrounded by a hydrophilic planar area. The droplets were produced by solvent exchange, a process where the droplets nucleate and grow from an oversaturation created by displacing a good solvent by a poor solvent of the droplet liquid. Our results showed that the droplet fully coats the lens surface and the contact angle of the droplet relative to the flat surface is finely tuned over a large range by the droplet volume. The growth of the droplet on microlens is largely described by the constant contact radius model. To demonstrate the new opportunities provided by the controlled formation of the droplet situated on a microlens, we will show a simple and effective approach for production of arrays of composite microlens consisting of two types of polymers with different refractive index. A high curvature of the composite microlens results in desirable diffraction patterns with potential application for enhanced light harvesting. Moreover, we demonstrate that extraction of trace of hydrophobic solute from the flow is much faster as the droplet is lifted up from the channel wall by the microlens, promising a time effective in-situ detection process in narrow channels.

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Oct 2017, accepted on 27 Dec 2017 and first published on 08 Jan 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7CP06861A
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    Formation, Growth and Applications of Femtoliter Droplets on Microlens

    L. Lei, J. Li, H. Yu, L. Bao, S. Peng and X. Zhang, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7CP06861A

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