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Manipulation and Mixing of 200 Femtoliter Droplets in Nanofluidic Channels Using MHz-Order Surface Acoustic Waves.

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Controllable manipulation and effective mixing of fluids and colloids at the nanoscale is made exceptionally difficult by the dominance of surface and viscous forces. The use of megahertz (MHz)-order vibration has dramatically expanded in microfluidics, enabling fluid manipulation, atomization, and microscale particle and cell separation. Even more powerful results are found at the nanoscale, with the key discovery of new regimes of acoustic wave interaction with 200 fL droplets of deionized water. It is shown that 40 MHz-order surface acoustic waves can manipulate such droplets within fully transparent, high-aspect ratio, 100 nm tall, 20-130 micron wide, 5-mm long nanoslit channels. By forming traps as locally widened regions along such a channel, individual fluid droplets may be propelled from one trap to the next, split between them, mixed, and merged. A simple theory is provided to describe the mechanisms of droplet transport and splitting.

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