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We evaluate the feasibility of manipulating droplets in two dimensions by exploiting Coulombic forces acting on conductivedroplets immersed in a dielectric fluid. When a droplet suspended in an immiscible fluid is located near an electrode under a dc voltage, the droplet can be charged by direct contact, by charge transfer along an electrically conducting path, or by both mechanisms. This process is called electrical charging of droplet (ECOD). This charged droplet may then be transported rapidly by exploiting Coulombic forces. We experimentally demonstrate electrical actuation of a charged droplet by applying voltage sequences. A charged droplet is two dimensionally actuated by following the direction of the electrical field signal. The droplet does not contact the surface of the microfluidic chip when it moves. This characteristic is very advantageous because treatments of the substrate surfaces of microfluidic chip become simpler. In order to test the feasibility of using ECOD in a droplet-based microreactor,electrocoalescence of two oppositely charged droplets is also studied. When two droplets approach each other due to Coulombic attraction, a liquid bridge is formed between them. We postulate that if the applied electric field is weaker than a certain critical level, the two dropletscoalesce instantaneously when the charges are exchanged and redistributed through this liquid bridge.


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