Electrochemical Principles for Active Control of Liquids on Submillimeter Scales

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Science  01 Jan 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5398, pp. 57-60
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5398.57

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Electrochemical methods were combined with redox-active surfactants to actively control the motions and positions of aqueous and organic liquids on millimeter and smaller scales. Surfactant species generated at one electrode and consumed at another were used to manipulate the magnitude and direction of spatial gradients in surface tension and guide droplets of organic liquids through simple fluidic networks. Solid microparticles could be transported across unconfined surfaces. Electrochemical control of the position of surface-active species within aqueous films of liquid supported on homogeneous surfaces was used to direct these films into periodic arrays of droplets with deterministic shapes and sizes.

  • * Present address: Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.

  • Present address: Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: abbott{at}

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