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Capacitive sensing of droplets for microfluidic devices based on thermocapillary actuation

Chen, Jian Z. and Darhuber, Anton A. and Troian, Sandra M. and Wagner, Sigurd (2004) Capacitive sensing of droplets for microfluidic devices based on thermocapillary actuation. Lab on a Chip, 4 (5). pp. 473-480. ISSN 1473-0197.

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The design and performance of a miniaturized coplanar capacitive sensor is presented whose electrode arrays can also function as resistive microheaters for thermocapillary actuation of liquid films and droplets. Optimal compromise between large capacitive signal and high spatial resolution is obtained for electrode widths comparable to the liquid film thickness measured, in agreement with supporting numerical simulations which include mutual capacitance effects. An interdigitated, variable width design, allowing for wider central electrodes, increases the capacitive signal for liquid structures with non-uniform height profiles. The capacitive resolution and time response of the current design is approximately 0.03 pF and 10 ms, respectively, which makes possible a number of sensing functions for nanoliter droplets. These include detection of droplet position, size, composition or percentage water uptake for hygroscopic liquids. Its rapid response time allows measurements of the rate of mass loss in evaporating droplets.

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Troian, Sandra M.0000-0003-1224-6377
Additional Information:© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2004 Received 5th December 2003, Accepted 4th May 2004. First published on the web 25th June 2004 The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support for this work from the National Science Foundation (CTS and DMR divisions), US Army TACOM-ARDEC and NASA’s Microgravity Fluid Physics Program.
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:CHEloac04
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4960
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:15 Sep 2006
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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