Capillary motor driven by electrowetting

Lab Chip. 2010 Jul 21;10(14):1781-6. doi: 10.1039/c001211d. Epub 2010 Apr 26.


A micro-structure supported on a droplet is subjected to capillary force and aligned dependent on its shape. If the droplet's boundary conditions at the bottom and the micro-structure are non-circular, capillary torque is exerted on the structures. The direction of torque is determined by the boundary conditions and the position of the structure. By changing the boundary conditions continuously, rotational motion of a plate was achieved. The boundary conditions of the droplet were controlled by electrowetting. We patterned electrodes in an annular shape on the plate supporting the droplet. By changing the voltage-applied electrodes, the boundary conditions were changed and the plate is rotated. The droplet and the plate worked as a capillary motor with this method. We report the relationship between the characteristics of the capillary motor and its rotational motion. We sandwiched a 3.0-microL water droplet between two plates and achieved a rotational motion of 720 rpm at maximum.