Multiphase optofluidics on an electro-microfluidic platform powered by electrowetting and dielectrophoresis
For diverse material phases used on an electro-microfluidic (EMF) platform, exploiting the electro-optical properties of matter in varied phases is essential to reap the benefits of the optofluidic capabilities of that platform. Materials in the four fundamental phases – solid-phase dielectric layer, liquid-phase droplet, gas-phase bubble, and plasma-phase bubble microplasma – have been investigated to offer electrically tunable optical characteristics for the manipulation of fluids on an EMF platform. Here we present an overview of the basic driving mechanisms for electrowetting and dielectrophoresis on the EMF platform. Three optofluidic examples occurring in multiple phases are described: solid optofluidics – liquid and light regulation by electrowetting on a solid polymer dispersed liquid crystal (PDLC) dielectric layer; liquid optofluidics – transmittance and reflectance modulation with formation of particle chains in a liquid droplet; and gas and plasma optofluidics – ignition and manipulation of a bubble microplasma by liquid dielectrophoresis. By combining the various materials possessing diverse electro-optical characteristics in separate phases, the EMF platform becomes an ideal platform for integrated optofluidics.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Optofluidics-2013