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Uncovering molecular mechanisms of electrowetting and saturation with simulations.

Authors
  • Liu, Jin
  • Wang, Moran
  • Chen, Shiyi
  • Robbins, Mark O
Type
Published Article
Journal
Physical Review Letters
Publisher
American Physical Society
Publication Date
May 25, 2012
Volume
108
Issue
21
Pages
216101–216101
Identifiers
PMID: 23003282
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Molecular dynamics simulations are used to explore the physical mechanisms of electrowetting and the limits of continuum theories. Nanoscale drops exhibit the same behavior seen in macroscopic experiments: The contact angle θ follows continuum theory at low voltages and then saturates. Saturation limits applications of electrowetting and its origin is of great interest. In the simulations, saturation occurs when ions are pulled from the drop by large local fields. Saturation can be controlled by changing temperature, screening, or the energy binding ions to the fluid. We show a local force balance equation for θ remains valid even after saturation and that the interface approaches the equilibrium contact angle within a few nanometers of the solid.

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