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The Physics of Microdroplets by Ken Brakke, Jean Berthier

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Chapter 12

Epilogue

The knowledge of the behavior of droplets and interfaces is of utmost importance in microfluidic systems. Indeed, two- or multi-phase microflows are increasingly used in many different domains of microtechnology. In biotechnology for instance, droplets are commonly manipulated by droplet or digital microfluidics to achieve DNA detection and recognition, or encapsulation of cells. Capillarity is the driving mechanism for thread and paper microfluidics, producing fast and cheap solutions for the detection of biologic targets, like pathogens or bacteria. Fluids in contact with air can be moved by open and suspended microfluidics using capillary forces, enabling the fabrication of new microsystems for the investigation of cellular behavior, or totally passive compact fluidic systems, i.e. without requiring any external actuation. 3D microelectronics is searching for new solutions in capillary self-alignment, using interfaces to produce restoring forces and torques. Microfabrication is also investigating the same properties to align cover seals of microchips. In materials science, arrangement and ordering of nanoparticles is achieved by the progressive withdrawal of an interface, enabling for example the fabrication of optical fibers. Also in optics, tunable lenses can be achieved by changing on demand the curvature of a liquid interface, and new display screens of high quality use capillary arrangement of opaque electrolyte droplets in an oil phase. Finally, in ...

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