Controlled electrospray pulsation for deposition of femtoliter fluid droplets onto surfaces

M. D. Paine, M. S. Alexander, K. L. Smith, M. Wang, J. P W Stark

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The ability to atomize a liquid sample into femtoliter droplets and deposit them precisely on a surface is a key problem in microfluidics and chemical analysis. Here we show that control of stable oscillations in an unforced electrospray is a high accuracy drop-on-demand method of depositing femtoliter droplets. Examples are presented of a liquid jet, formed for 35 μ s, in a discontinuous spray mode controlled using electrostatic fields of short duration; no liquid pump was employed. Each transient jet ejects femtoliter volumes of material, which was deposited on a nearby surface. The volumes ejected by pulsating sprays on a range of nozzle sizes are predicted from electrospray scaling laws. Using the modified nanoelectrospray method, we have printed 1.4 μ m wide features onto a surface in a drop-on-demand fashion with a placement accuracy of a few micrometers. We anticipate that our technique could produce biological microarrays and precisely deliver ultra-small samples for lab-on-a-chip analysis. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)315-324
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Aerosol Science
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


    • Atomization
    • Deposition
    • Droplet
    • Electrospray
    • Femtoliter


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