We want to understand and control transport phenomena at the microscale, in the presence of interfaces. In other words, we consider the transport of energy and fluids in geometries with a typical size of a few microns. Such small geometries offer an ideal playing field for micro-drops and micro-bubbles, because surfaces forces like wetting and Laplace forces win over bulk forces like gravity. For instance, heat transfer between a molten microdroplet and a solid surface is heavily controlled by the imperfect thermal contact between the droplet and the solid surface. Also, the motion of bubbles in microchannels depends strongly on wetting forces. Once this complex interplay of interfacial forces is understood, we want to engineer surfaces and geometries to put drops and bubbles to work, to perform tasks in cooling, manufacturing and bioengineering with extreme reliability and precision. The best example of a bubble at work is seen in ink-jet printing, where the explosive growth of a micro-bubble is exploited to generate micro-bubbles with a high precision.To understandtransport phenomena at the microscale, we typically try to develop high-resolution measurements method and match them with numerical simulations, which we also develop. This approach is illustrated by the following projects:
To control transport phenomena at the microscale, we use microheaters, droplet generators, pressure controllers and actuators, and micromachined geometries. This approach is illustrated by the following projects:
Applications of our research are in:
The news page presents our funding sources. Please have a look at our publications and at the gallery.
Listen to Dr. Daniel Attinger presenting his views on research (March 2009) at Columbia University.