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Advances in OptoElectronics
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 909174, 12 pages
Review Article

Light-Driven Droplet Manipulation Technologies for Lab-on-a-Chip Applications

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1597, USA

Received 15 June 2011; Accepted 20 August 2011

Academic Editor: Aaron T. Ohta

Copyright © 2011 Sung-Yong Park and Pei-Yu Chiou. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Droplet-based (digital) microfluidics has been demonstrated in many lab-on-a-chip applications due to its free cross-contamination and no dispersion nature. Droplet manipulation mechanisms are versatile, and each has unique advantages and limitations. Recently, the idea of manipulating droplets with light beams either through optical forces or light-induced physical mechanisms has attracted some interests, since light can achieve 3D addressing, carry high energy density for high speed actuation, and be patterned and dynamically reconfigured to generate a large number of light beams for massively parallel manipulation. This paper reviews recent developments of various optical technologies for droplet manipulation and their applications in lab-on-a-chip.