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Automated Droplet Manipulation Using Closed-Loop Axisymmetric Drop Shape Analysis.

Yu, Kyle; Yang, Jinlong; Zuo, Yi Y.
Langmuir; 32(19): 4820-6, 2016 05 17.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27132978
Droplet manipulation plays an important role in a wide range of scientific and industrial applications, such as synthesis of thin-film materials, control of interfacial reactions, and operation of digital microfluidics. Compared to micron-sized droplets, which are commonly considered as spherical beads, millimeter-sized droplets are generally deformable by gravity, thus introducing nonlinearity into control of droplet properties. Such a nonlinear drop shape effect is especially crucial for droplet manipulation, even for small droplets, at the presence of surfactants. In this paper, we have developed a novel closed-loop axisymmetric drop shape analysis (ADSA), integrated into a constrained drop surfactometer (CDS), for manipulating millimeter-sized droplets. The closed-loop ADSA generalizes applications of the traditional drop shape analysis from a surface tension measurement methodology to a sophisticated tool for manipulating droplets in real time. We have demonstrated the feasibility and advantages of the closed-loop ADSA in three applications, including control of drop volume by automatically compensating natural evaporation, precise control of surface area variations for high-fidelity biophysical simulations of natural pulmonary surfactant, and steady control of surface pressure for in situ Langmuir-Blodgett transfer from droplets. All these applications have demonstrated the accuracy, versatility, applicability, and automation of this new ADSA-based droplet manipulation technique. Combining with CDS, the closed-loop ADSA holds great promise for advancing droplet manipulation in a variety of material and surface science applications, such as thin-film fabrication, self-assembly, and biophysical study of pulmonary surfactant.
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