The June 23-25 International Meeting on Electrowetting will focus on topics such as superspreading (increased spreading of a liquid), electrowetting DNA sequencing (which is advancing the medical field), magnetofluidics (the manipulation of water droplets), liquid metals (metals that are liquid at room temperature) and more.
This rapidly developing science of manipulating the surface wetting of a liquid through the use of voltage (electrowetting) has the capacity to change the way we look at e-readers, such as the Kindle and the iPad.
Some of the world’s most efficient display technologies in development are based on electrowetting. The efficiency of electrowetting increases the brightness of the electronic display such that it can be read easily even in direct sunlight. These electrowetting displays use colored fluids which are wetted or dewetted inside a pixel surface, similar to coloring or de-coloring on a piece of paper.
Although there are great advancements made in regards to displays and electronics, the most commercial success for electrowetting is not in this exciting area, but in lab-on-chip (biomedical applications) and variable optics. Electrowetting methods have been used in DNA sequencing to essentially shrink the biomedical lab to a chip.
Conference attendees Illumina and Tecan Systems use electrowetting to move and mix tiny droplets of fluid, doing the same biochemistry experiments you might do in a lab to detect disease, but requiring only a tiny amount of blood to do so. This method has the capacity to achieve results ten times faster than if you had to mix larger amounts of fluid in a beaker.
In addition, attendee Varioptic uses an electrowetting droplet that can be changed in shape using liquid optics, making different ‘liquid lens shapes’ on demand. Varioptic’s development has the potential to utilize your smart phone’s camera function in remarkable new ways. Imagine the small camera on a smart phone with the ability to zoom focus in the same way a large camera does with traditional movable lenses.
University of Cincinnati serves as the premier host for the 9th International Meeting on Electrowetting due to the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ outstanding achievements within the field. UC researchers Jason Heikenfeld and Andrew Steckl are co-organizers of the conference. Each has worked in electrowetting for more than a decade.
Heikenfeld states, “The University of Cincinnati has published some of the key results that are needed to transform electrowetting science into real products, developed a large portion of the novel electrowetting devices discovered globally in the past 10 years, and has pioneered fundamental studies on resolving many of the reliability challenges that impaired earlier research.”
Heikenfeld and Steckl look forward to the stimulating discussion facilitated by the 9th International Meeting on Electrowetting and Related Micro/electrofluidic Science and Technology. The preliminary agenda is promising, with quite possibly the most scientific contributions the conference has ever seen.
For more information, see: http://secs.ceas.uc.edu/electrowetting2014/