Affordable Fabrication of Conductive Electrodes and Dielectric Films for a Paper-based Digital Microfluidic Chip

Veasna Soum, Yunpyo Kim, Sooyong Park, Mary Chuong, Soo Ryeon Ryu, Sang Ho Lee, Georgi Plamenov Tanev, Jan Madsen, Oh-Sun Kwon*, Kwanwoo Shin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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In order to fabricate a digital microfluidic (DMF) chip, which requires a patterned array of electrodes coated with a dielectric film, we explored two simple methods: Ballpoint pen printing to generate the electrodes, and wrapping of a dielectric plastic film to coat the electrodes. For precise and programmable printing of the patterned electrodes, we used a digital plotter with a ballpoint pen filled with a silver nanoparticle (AgNP) ink. Instead of using conventional material deposition methods, such as chemical vapor deposition, printing, and spin coating, for fabricating the thin dielectric layer, we used a simple method in which we prepared a thin dielectric layer using pre-made linear, low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) plastic (17-μm thick) by simple wrapping. We then sealed it tightly with thin silicone oil layers so that it could be used as a DMF chip. Such a treated dielectric layer showed good electrowetting performance for a sessile drop without contact angle hysteresis under an applied voltage of less than 170 V. By using this straightforward fabrication method, we quickly and affordably fabricated a paper-based DMF chip and demonstrated the digital electrofluidic actuation and manipulation of drops.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109
Issue number2
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Ballpoint pen printing
  • Conductive electrode
  • Dielectric film
  • Digital microfluidic chip
  • Electrowetting
  • Plastic wrap


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