Low-cost spin-coatable, Transferable, and High-k Ion Gel Dielectric for Flexible Eletrowetting

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Electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) is an emerging liquid-handling technology, enabling the wettability modulation of a liquid on a solid surface with an applied electric field. Recently, EWOD has been attractively used on flexible substrates to show potential applications of electronic display, lab on a chip, and biochemical sensors. To improve EWOD performance, a high-k material such as Si3N4, Al2O3, and Ta2O5 are typically proposed to provide a higher dielectric property than SiO2. However, these materials need expensive and complex vacuum facilities like CDV, PECVD, and sputtering for layer deposition. In addition, the rigidity of the materials renders them impractical for flexible electrowetting applications. Although polymer-based materials such as PDMS, SU-8, and Parylene C have been alternatively used to permit deformability, they are low-capacitance dielectrics that require high operational voltages up to 700 V. Here, we present, for the first time, ion gel as a new high-k dielectric that can be simply fabricated by spin-coating without any expensive vacuum facilities. Our study for EWOD performance indicates that ion gel is capable of lowering operational voltage and providing an improved high-k dielectric without bubble generation by electrolysis. Transferring and deformable capabilities of the ion gel layer has been experimentally demonstrated as well.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 4, Advanced Manufacturing, Electronics and Microsystems: TechConnect Briefs 2015
Published: June 14, 2015
Pages: 363 - 366
Industry sector: Sensors, MEMS, Electronics
Topic: Micro & Bio Fluidics, Lab-on-Chip
ISBN: 978-1-4987-4730-1