EWOD (electrowetting on dielectric) digital microfluidics powered by finger actuation
We report finger-actuated digital microfluidics (F-DMF) based on the manipulation of discrete droplets via the electrowetting on dielectric (EWOD) phenomenon. Instead of requiring an external power supply, our F-DMF uses piezoelectric elements to convert mechanical energy produced by human fingers to electric voltage pulses for droplet actuation. Voltage outputs of over 40 V are provided by single piezoelectric elements, which is necessary for oil-free EWOD devices with thin (typically <1 μm) dielectric layers. Higher actuation voltages can be provided using multiple piezoelectric elements connected in series when needed. Using this energy conversion scheme, we confirmed basic modes of EWOD droplet operation, such as droplet transport, splitting and merging. Using two piezoelectric elements in series, we also successfully demonstrated applications of F-DMF for glucose detection and immunoassay. Not requiring power sources, F-DMF offers intriguing paths for various portable and other microfluidic applications.