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Microscale fluid transport using optically controlled marangoni effect

United States Patent

May 10, 2011
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Visit the Partnerships Directorate Website
Low energy light illumination and either a doped semiconductor surface or a surface-plasmon supporting surface are used in combination for manipulating a fluid on the surface in the absence of any applied electric fields or flow channels. Precise control of fluid flow is achieved by applying focused or tightly collimated low energy light to the surface-fluid interface. In the first embodiment, with an appropriate dopant level in the semiconductor substrate, optically excited charge carriers are made to move to the surface when illuminated. In a second embodiment, with a thin-film noble metal surface on a dispersive substrate, optically excited surface plasmons are created for fluid manipulation. This electrode-less optical control of the Marangoni effect provides re-configurable manipulations of fluid flow, thereby paving the way for reprogrammable microfluidic devices.
Thundat; Thomas G (Knoxville, TN), Passian; Ali (Knoxville, TN), Farahi; Rubye H (Oak Ridge, TN)
UT-Battelle, LLC (Oak Ridge, TN)
11/ 778,162
July 16, 2007
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725 between the United States Department of Energy and UT-Battelle, LLC. The United States Government has certain rights in this invention.