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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Electrotunable liquid sulfur microdroplets.

  • Author(s): Zhou, Guangmin;
  • Yang, Ankun;
  • Wang, Yifei;
  • Gao, Guoping;
  • Pei, Allen;
  • Yu, Xiaoyun;
  • Zhu, Yangying;
  • Zong, Linqi;
  • Liu, Bofei;
  • Xu, Jinwei;
  • Liu, Nian;
  • Zhang, Jinsong;
  • Li, Yanxi;
  • Wang, Lin-Wang;
  • Hwang, Harold Y;
  • Brongersma, Mark L;
  • Chu, Steven;
  • Cui, Yi
  • et al.

Manipulating liquids with tunable shape and optical functionalities in real time is important for electroactive flow devices and optoelectronic devices, but remains a great challenge. Here, we demonstrate electrotunable liquid sulfur microdroplets in an electrochemical cell. We observe electrowetting and merging of sulfur droplets under different potentiostatic conditions, and successfully control these processes via selective design of sulfiphilic/sulfiphobic substrates. Moreover, we employ the electrowetting phenomena to create a microlens based on the liquid sulfur microdroplets and tune its characteristics in real time through changing the shape of the liquid microdroplets in a fast, repeatable, and controlled manner. These studies demonstrate a powerful in situ optical battery platform for unraveling the complex reaction mechanism of sulfur chemistries and for exploring the rich material properties of the liquid sulfur, which shed light on the applications of liquid sulfur droplets in devices such as microlenses, and potentially other electrotunable and optoelectronic devices.

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