Self-propelling droplets for microfluidic applications

Status: Completed

Dates: 2011 - 2014

Māori Relevant Content: No


  • Royal Society of New Zealand (Marsden Fund, 2011 - 2014)

Project Abstract

Microfluidic devices play an ever increasing role in nano- and bio-technologies. An example of the recent breakthrough allowed by such technologies is the “lab on a chip” which enables orders of magnitude downsizing of assay equipments. An emerging area of research in this technology-driven field is digital microfluidics which is based upon the micromanipulation of discrete droplets. An obvious challenge, however, is how to displace sessile droplets on the microfluidic platform. The "fuel" we propose to use to propel the droplets is the surface tension gradient which arises during the mixing of two miscible droplets with different surface tensions. The fluid having a tendency to flow towards regions of higher surface tension, theory predicts that the droplet will move until both droplets have fully mixed resulting in a uniform surface tension or "fuel" exhaustion. The proposed research program will investigate experimentally the coalescence dynamics; define a “self-propulsion” window; develop and implement a

Researchers - UC Staff

Researchers - Non-UC Staff

  • Vi-Vie Ng: Postgraduate student; University of Canterbury
  • Claude Verdier: Associate Investigator; CNRS

Associated Groups

Subject Area: Disciplines