Recently, adaptive wireless devices have utilized displacement of EGaIn within microchannels as an electrical switching mechanism to enable reconfigurable electronics. Device reconfiguration using EGaIn in microchannels overcomes many challenges encountered by more traditional reconfiguration mechanisms such as diodes and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Reconfiguration using EGaIn is severely limited by undesired permanent shorting due to retention of the liquid in microchannels caused by wetting and rapid oxide skin formation. Here, we investigate the conditions which prevent repeatable electrical switching using EGaIn in microchannels. Initial contact angle tests of EGaIn on epoxy surfaces demonstrate the wettability of EGaIn on flat surfaces. SEM cross-sections of microchannels reveal adhesion of EGaIn residue to channel walls. Micro-computed tomography (microCT) scans of provide volumetric measurements of EGaIn remaining inside channels after flow cycling. Non-wetting coatings are proposed as materials based strategy to overcome these issues in future work.
Anthony S. Griffin, Nancy R. Sottos, and Scott R. White, "Materials challenges for repeatable RF wireless device reconfiguration with microfluidic channels," Proc. SPIE 10596, Behavior and Mechanics of Multifunctional Materials and Composites XII, 1059611 (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 07, 2018; Published: 22 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2300264.
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