On a solid surface a droplet of liquid will stick due to the capillary adhesion and this causes low droplet mobility. To reduce contact line pinning, surface chemistry can be coupled to micro- and/or nano-structures to create superhydrophobic surfaces on which a droplet balls-up into an almost spherical shape thus minimising contact area. Recent progress in soft matter has now led to alternative lubricant impregnated surfaces capable of almost zero contact line pinning and high droplet mobility without causing droplets to ball-up and minimize contact area. Here we report a new approach to Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) actuated droplet transportation enabled using such a surface. These surfaces maintain the contact area required for efficient energy and momentum transfer of the wave energy into the droplet, whilst achieving high droplet mobility and large footprint, therefore reducing the threshold power required to induce droplet motion. In our approach we used a slippery layer of lubricating oil infused into a self-assembled porous hydrophobic layer, which is significantly thinner than the SAW wavelength and so avoided damping of the wave. A significant reduction (up to 85%) in the threshold power for droplet transportation was found compared to that using a conventional surface treatment method. Moreover, unlike droplets on superhydrophobic surfaces, where interaction with the SAW induced a transition from a Cassie–Baxter state to a Wenzel state, the droplets on our liquid impregnated surfaces remained in a mobile state after interaction with the SAW.
- Surface acoustic wave (SAW)
- droplet transportation