An oxidized liquid metal-based microfluidic platform for tunable electronic device applications
Easy movement of oxidized Galinstan in microfluidic channels is a promising way for the wide application of the non-toxic liquid metal. In this paper, two different surface modification techniques (physical and chemical) are reported, which dramatically improve the non-wetting characteristics of oxidized Galinstan in the microfluidic channel. In the physical technique, normal paper textures are transferred to the inner wall of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) channels and four types of nanoparticles are then coated on the surface of the wall for further improvement of the non-wetting characteristics. Highest advancing angle of 167° and receding angle of 151° are achieved on the paper-textured PDMS with titanium oxide (TiO2) nanoparticles. In the chemical technique, three types of inorganic acids are employed to generate dual-scale structures on the PDMS surface. The inner wall surface treated with sulfuric acid (H2SO4) shows the highest contact angle of 167° and a low hysteresis of ~14° in the dynamic measurement. Creating, transporting, separating and merging of oxidized Galinstan droplets are successfully demonstrated in the fabricated PDMS microfluidic channels. After optimization of these modification techniques, the potential application of tunable capacitors and electronic filters is realized by using liquid metal-based microfluidic devices.