Droplet microfluidic technology achieves precise manipulation of droplet behaviors by designing and controlling the flow and interaction of various incompatible fluids. The electric field provides a non-contact, pollution-free, designable and promising method for droplet microfluidics. Since the droplet behaviors in many industrial and biological applications occur on the contact surface and the properties of droplets and the surrounding environment are not consistent, it is essential to understand fundamentally the sessile droplet motion and deformation under various conditions. This paper reports a technique using the pin-plate electrode to generate non-uniform dielectrophoresis (DEP) force to control sessile droplets on hydrophobic surfaces. The electrohydrodynamics phenomena of the droplet motion and deformation are simulated using the phase-field method. It is found that the droplet moves along the substrate surface to the direction of higher electric field strength, and is accompanied with a certain offset displacement. In addition, the effect of pin electric potentials, surface contact angles and droplet volumes on the droplet motion and deformation are also studied and compared. The results show that higher potentials, more hydrophobic surfaces and larger droplet volumes exhibit greater droplet horizontal displacement and offset displacement. But for the droplet vertical displacement, it is found that during the first revert process, the release of the surface tension can make the droplet with low potentials, small contact angles or small droplet volumes span from negative to positive. These results will be helpful for future operations encountered in sessile droplets under non-uniform electric fields towards the droplet microfluidics applications.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited