Research ArticleENGINEERING

Photopyroelectric microfluidics

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Science Advances  16 Sep 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 38, eabc1693
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc1693


Precision manipulation of various liquids is essential in many fields. Unlike solid objects, fluids are intrinsically divisible, enriching their fundamental operations with merging, dispensing, and splitting on top of moving. Fluids are sticky as well, calling for their lossless manipulation to prevent mass loss and contamination. We present photopyroelectric microfluidics that meet all the requirements. In response to the irradiation from even one single beam of light, our platform creates a unique wavy dielectrophoretic force field that is remarkably capable of performing desired loss-free (loss being 0.5% of existing one) manipulation of droplets of surface tension from 18.9 to 98.0 mN m−1 and volume from 1 nl to 1000 μl, functioning as a “magic” wetting-proof hand to navigate, fuse, pinch, and cleave fluids on demand, enabling cargo carriers with droplet wheels and upgrading the limit of maximum concentration of deliverable protein by 4000-fold.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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