Direct heating of aqueous droplets using high frequency voltage signals on an EWOD platform

Krishnadas Narayanan Nampoothiri, Mahadevan Subramanya Seshasayee, Vinod Srinivasan, M. S. Bobji, Prosenjit Sen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We demonstrate a new technique of heating aqueous droplets on conventional EWOD electrodes by using high-frequency high-voltage AC signals. At high actuation frequencies (10–1000 kHz), the droplet temperature rises due to Joule heating from the ohmic currents inside the drop. Using this direct heating technique, we were able to achieve temperatures of 93–94 °C, which is significant for several biochemical applications. The technique is studied extensively using experiments and modelling. Several performance parameters of this heating technique were compared with a standard microheater through experiments and simulation. For the presented technique, the substrate near the droplet was cooler in comparison to the microheater. This will reduce parasitic heating of nearby droplets. A comprehensive study regarding the optimization of the geometrical parameters and the capability to heat solutions to higher temperatures using lower voltage and higher frequency were also performed using simulations. As conventional EWOD electrodes are used for heating the liquid, separate microheaters are not required. This significantly simplifies design and allows us to heat any droplet at any location on the chip. This on demand reconfigurability of droplet heating is the primary benefit of this technique. To establish the abilities of our suggested method, two biochemical experiments were demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-872
Number of pages11
JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
StatePublished - Nov 10 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Nonlinear Photonics and High-Power Lasers Laboratory and the Gas Sensors Laboratory at Centre for Nano Science and Engineering for providing us the IR cameras for the experiments. The authors would also like to thank SERB, Department of Science & Technology for the financial support. We further acknowledge the National Nanofabrication Centre supported by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for supporting our device fabrication and Proteomics Facility, Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Science for performing the LC-ESI-MS/MS of the prepared solution.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • Direct heating
  • Droplet temperature rise
  • Electrothermal flows
  • Joule heating


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