Low friction droplet transportation on a substrate with a selective Leidenfrost effect

Linzi E. Dodd, David Wood, Nicasio R. Geraldi, Gary G. Wells, Glen McHale, Ben B. Xu, Simone Stuart-Cole, James Martin, Michael I. Newton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An energy saving Leidenfrost levitation method is introduced to transport micro-droplets with virtually frictionless contact between the liquid and solid substrate. By micro-engineering the heating units, selective areas of the whole substrate can be electro-thermally activated. A droplet can be levitated as a result of the Leidenfrost effect, and further transported when the substrate is tilted slightly. The selective electro-heating produces a uniform temperature distribution on the heating units within 1 s, in response to a triggering voltage. Alongside these experimental observations, finite element simulations are conducted to understand the temperature profile of the selective heated substrate, and also generate phase diagrams to verify the Leidenfrost regime for different substrate materials. Finally, we demonstrate the possibility of controlling low friction high speed droplet transportation (~ 65 mm/s) when the substrate is tilted (~ 7 °) by structurally designing the substrate. This work establishes the basis for an entirely new approach to droplet microfluidics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22658-22663
Number of pages6
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number34
Early online date16 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2016


  • Liquids
  • Layers
  • Silicon
  • power
  • Substrates


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