American Chemical Society
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Hydrodynamic Flows in Electrowetting

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posted on 2008-02-05, 00:00 authored by Sung Hee Ko, Horim Lee, Kwan Hyoung Kang
Hydrodynamic flows are generated inside a droplet in electrowetting when an ac voltage is applied. To discover the characteristics and origin of the flows, we investigated the flow pattern for a sessile droplet for various needle-electrode positions, electrolyte concentrations, and applied electrical frequencies. Two distinct types of flows were observed under current experimental conditions. In the typical experimental condition, a quite fast flow appears in the low-frequency range of about 10 Hz to 15 kHz. A different type of flow is observed in the high-frequency range of about 35 to 256 kHz, but this frequency range depends significantly on the electrolyte concentration. Most typically, the flow directions are different for the two flows. A shape oscillation of a droplet was observed in the low-frequency range by a high-speed camera. The flow in the low-frequency range is insensitive to the conductivity of the solution and may be caused by the interfacial oscillation of the droplet. The flow at high frequency is very sensitive to the conductivity of the solution and electrode position, so the high-frequency flow is believed to be caused by some electrohydrodynamic effect.