Control of the Shape of Liquid Lenses on a Modified Gold Surface Using as Applied Electrical Potential across a Self-Assembled Monolayer

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Paper Details

Title: Control of the Shape of Liquid Lenses on a Modified Gold Surface Using as Applied Electrical Potential across a Self-Assembled Monolayer

Authors: C.B. Gorman, H.A. Biebuyck, G.M. Whitesides

Journal: Langmuir 11 (1995) pgs. 2242-2246


Introduction

The focus of this paper is describing how the contact angle of drops of liquid can be controlled and varied using an applied electrical potential. The drops could act as lenses and could be used an an optical switch which focuses/ defocuses light.

The electrical potential used to control the contact angles is applied across a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) on a gold surface. The drops described in this paper are hexadecanethiol (HDT). When the gold was transparent, the drops acted as lenses for transmitting light. The liquid HDT drops resting on a gold surface and surrounded by aqueous electrolyte - act like lenses whose shape can be quickly, reproducibly and reversibly changed by applying a potential to the substrate supporting the drops.

Experiment

A drop of HDT was placed on a gold surface under an aqueous electrolyte solution. The drop spread reactively on gold at 0 V (relative to the silver electrode) and formed a hydrophobic monolayer under the drop. the advancing contact angle of this drop reached a value of ~37 degrees (see figure 1 below). When the potential of the gold was switched to -1.7V, the SAM underwent electrodesorption and the drop retracted. The contact angle of the drop as it receded was ~ 128 degrees. As the hydrophobic SAM desorbed and water wet the resulting charged gold surface, the drop retracted on the surface. When the drop retracted, this also reduced the interfacial area between the drop and the water.


Contact.png


The drop's contact angle changed continuously as a function of the potential between these two limiting values (see figure 2). Figure 2 shows hysteresis in the contact angles of the spreading/retraction which did not change with the thickness of the gold or with the chain length of the thiol.


Hysteresis.png



The switching speeds for drops were determined by changing the potential of the gold (-1.7 V for retraction of drop and 0V for spreading of the drop) and then observing he time required for the shape to change by taking a video.

Analysis

Conclusion