Thermal Modulation and Instability of Newtonian Liquid Microjets
Nanotech 2005, (2005)

Liquid microjets are inherently unstable and can be broken into droplets by various means including modulation of pressure, velocity, and/or fluid properties. In this presentation, we discuss the controlled breakup of viscous microjets via thermal modulation of surface tension. Such modulation has been implemented using CMOS/MEMS technology by integrating resistive heating elements around each orifice of a manifold as depicted in Fig. 1. When the heating elements are electrically pulsed, the thermal energy they produce penetrates the surface of the microjet, and is carried downstream to produce a spatial variation of surface tension along the length of the jet, which ultimately causes breakup and drop formation (Figs. 1 and 2). Using this process, microfluidic devices have been fabricated with thousands of individually modulated microjets that can produce steady steams of picoliter-sized droplets at kilohertz frequency rates 1. In this presentation we review methods for analyzing such devices.
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