Three-dimensional digital microfluidic manipulation of droplets in oil medium.

Research paper by Jiwoo J Hong, Young Kwon YK Kim, Dong-Joon DJ Won, Joonwon J Kim, Sang Joon SJ Lee

Indexed on: 03 Jun '15Published on: 03 Jun '15Published in: Scientific Reports


We here develop a three-dimensional DMF (3D DMF) platform with patterned electrodes submerged in an oil medium to provide fundamental solutions to the technical limitations of 2D DMF platforms and water-air systems. 3D droplet manipulation on patterned electrodes is demonstrated by programmably controlling electrical signals. We also demonstrate the formation of precipitates on the 3D DMF platform through the reaction of different chemical samples. A droplet containing precipitates, hanging on the top electrode, can be manipulated without adhesion of precipitates to the solid surface. This method could be a good alternative strategy to alleviate the existing problems of 2D DMF systems such as cross-contamination and solute adsorption. In addition, we ascertain the feasibility of temperature-controlled chemical reaction on the 3D DMF platform by introducing a simple heating process. To demonstrate applicability of the 3D DMF system to 3D biological process, we examine the 3D manipulation of droplets containing mouse fibroblasts in the 3D DMF platform. Finally, we show detachment of droplets wrapped by a flexible thin film by adopting the electro-elasto-capillarity (EEC). The employment of the EEC may offer a strong potential in the development of 3D DMF platforms for drug encapsulation and actuation of microelectromechanical devices.