Controlling charge on levitating drops.

Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1101 University Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1396, USA.
Analytical Chemistry (Impact Factor: 5.83). 09/2007; 79(15):6027-30. DOI: 10.1021/ac070413j
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Levitation technologies are used in containerless processing of materials, as microscale manipulators and reactors, and in the study of single drops and particles. Presented here is a method for controlling the amount and polarity of charge on a levitating drop. The method uses single-axis acoustic levitation to trap and levitate a single, initially neutral drop with a diameter between 400 microm and 2 mm. This drop is then charged in a controllable manner using discrete packets of charge in the form of charged drops produced by a piezoelectric drop-on-demand dispenser equipped with a charging electrode. The magnitude of the charge on the dispensed drops can be adjusted by varying the voltage applied to the charging electrode. The polarity of the charge on the added drops can be changed allowing removal of charge from the trapped drop (by neutralization) and polarity reversal. The maximum amount of added charge is limited by repulsion of like charges between the drops in the trap. This charging scheme can aid in micromanipulation and the study of charged drops and particles using levitation.