Liquid marbles need to be controlled precisely to benefit applications, for instance, as microreactors on digital microfluidic platforms for chemical and biological assays. In this work, a strategy is introduced to coalesce liquid marbles via electrostatics, where two liquid marbles in contact can coalesce when a sufficiently high voltage is applied to embedded electrodes. With the understanding of the mechanism of coalescence through relating the electric stress and the restoring capillary pressure at the contact interface, this method coalesces liquid marbles efficiently. When compared with the existing electrocoalescence method, our approach does not require immersion of electrodes to trigger coalescence. We demonstrate this to exchange the medium for the culture of cell spheroids and to measure the cell metabolic activity through a CCK-8 assay. The manipulation of liquid marbles driven by electrostatics creates new opportunities to conduct chemical reactions and biomedical assays in these novel microreactors.
Binks, B. P., Zhang, Y., Fu, X., Guo, W., Deng, Y., & Shum, H. C. (2019). Electrocoalescence of liquid marbles driven by embedded electrodes for triggering bioreactions. Lab on a chip, 19(20), 3526-3534. https://doi.org/10.1039/c9lc00722a