A uniform deposition of the suspended particles in an evaporating droplet is necessary in many research fields. Such deposition is difficult to achieve, because the coffee-ring effect dominates the internal flow in a droplet. The present study adopts a biocompatible, surfactant-like polymer (Polyethylene glycol, PEG) to break the coffee-ring effect and obtain a relatively uniform deposition of the microparticles with yielding multi-ring pattern over a droplet area. Movements of the suspended particles in evaporating droplets and deposition patterns of them on a glass substrate were analyzed with microscopic images and video files. The PEG in the droplets successfully altered the coffee-ring effect because of the surface tension variation, which induced a centripetal Marangoni flow. Balancing these two phenomena apparently generated the Marangoni vortex. For PEG solution droplets, the pinning-depinning process during evaporation was periodically repeated and multiple rings were regularly formed. In conclusion, adding a surfactant-like viscous polymer in a droplet could provide a uniform coating of suspended particles, such as cells and various biomaterials, which would be essentially required for droplet assays of biomedical applications.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Tis work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded by the Korean Government (MSIP) (NRF-2016R1A5A1010148, NRF-2015M3A9D7031026). One of authors (Daeho Jang) was also supported by a grant from Korea University.
© 2017 The Author(s).
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