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Electrical Wetting Phenomena

Electrical Wetting Phenomena

The electrowetting effect has been defined as “the change in solid-electrolyte contact angle due to an applied potential difference between the solid and the electrolyte”. The phenomenon of electrowetting can be understood in terms of the forces that result from the applied electric field.  It is also known that the contact angle supression or saturation phenomenum through voltage can be affected by changing the detailed geometry of the system.  It is predicted that  in reversed electrowetting, the contact angle can possibly grow with the voltage.

Electrowetting is now used in a wide range of applications from modular to adjustable lenses, electronic displays (e-paper) as well as switches for optical fibers. Electrowetting has recently been evoked for manipulating Soft Matter.  Furthermore, filters with electrowetting functionality has been suggested for cleaning oil spills and separating oil-water mixtures.  By optically modulating the number of carriers in space-charge region of the semiconductor, the contact angle of a liquid droplet can be altered in a continuous way.  This is called photoelectricalwetting and it can be observed if the conductor in the liquid/insulator/conductor stack used for electrowetting is replaced by a semionductor.

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Nanoparticles, Nanowires and Microelectronics

Nanoparticles, Nanowires and Microelectronics

Novel nanowires/nanoparticles/colloidal composite particles have great potential in applications such as thermal coatings, paints, inks, papers, adhesives, thin films, novel sensing materials, and hybrid emulsions for imaging or drug delivery.  Furthermore, the hierarchical assembly of nanowires, which provide building blocks into different architectures, will surely lead to devices with higher structural complexity and new functionality—used in microelectronics fields such as nanolaser arrays, nanowire arrays as 2D photonic crystals and light-emitting nanowire/polymer composites. This type of assembly is a process that will enable the bridging of the recently discovered nanoscopic world to the existing microscopic/macroscopic worlds. The ability to manipulate these nanoscale building blocks is critical for the future of science and technology development.

The key to the success of nanotechnologies is assembly, namely the art of putting nanostructures xactly where one desires with the necessary connectivity. Nanostructure assembly is challenging because of the incompatibility of pertinent length scales— “nano” versus “macro.”  The fluidic assembly scheme has become a popular topic in the R&D community, aiming to explore a sufficient control to allow for the fabrication of simple networks and the macroscopic patterning of nanowires/nanoparticles.  The research community must develop generalized assembly techniques that go well beyond current capabilities if nanowires, rods, belts, and tubes are to see widespread technological application in optoelectronics and computing.  For example, to arrange vast numbers of 1D nanostructures on solid surfaces is done through Langmuir–Blodgett assembly.  In the LB technique, uniaxial compression of a nanowire–surfactant monolayer floating on an aqueous phase causes the nanowires to align and pack over a large area.  The aligned monolayer can then be transferred to a solid surface. Repeated transfers of different types of nanowires can produce functional nanowire lattices.

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