Featured publication (3/9/12)



Modulating Contact Angle Hysteresis To Direct Fluid Droplets Along a Homogeneous Surface


 Authors: Mingxiang Luo, Rohini Gupta and Joelle Frechette

(ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2012, 4, 890-896)



The shape and motion of drops on surfaces is governed by the balance between the driving and the pinning forces. Here we demonstrate control over the motion of droplets on an inclined surface by exerting control over the contact angle hysteresis. The external modulation of contact angle hysteresis is achieved through a voltage-induced local molecular reorganization within the surface film at the solid− liquid interface. We show that tuning contact angle hysteresis alone is sufficient to direct and deform drops when subjected to a constant external driving force, here gravity, in the absence of a pre-defined surface energy gradient or pattern. We also show that the observed stretching and contraction of the drops mimic the motion of an inchworm. Such reversible manipulation of the pinning forces could be an attractive means to direct drops, especially with the dominance of surface forces at micro-/nanoscale.

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