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Liquid Marble Actuator for Microfluidic Logic Systems

Draper, Thomas C.; Fullarton, Claire; Phillips, Neil; de Lacy Costello, Ben P. J.; Adamatzky, Andrew


Dr Thomas Draper
Research Fellow Biosensing/ Healthcare Technology

Claire Fullarton

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Dr Neil Phillips
Research Fellow in Fungal Analog Electronics


© 2018, The Author(s). A mechanical flip-flop actuator has been developed that allows for the facile re-routing and distribution of liquid marbles (LMs) in digital microfluidic devices. Shaped loosely like a triangle, the actuating switch pivots from one bistable position to another, being actuated by the very low mass and momentum of a LM rolling under gravity (~4 × 10 −6 kg ms −1 ). The actuator was laser-cut from cast acrylic, held on a PTFE coated pivot, and used a PTFE washer. Due to the rocking motion of the switch, sequential LMs are distributed along different channels, allowing for sequential LMs to traverse parallel paths. This distributing effect can be easily cascaded, for example to evenly divide sequential LMs down four different paths. This lightweight, cheap and versatile actuator has been demonstrated in the design and construction of a LM-operated mechanical multiplication device — establishing its effectiveness. The actuator can be operated solely by gravity, giving it potential use in point-of-care devices in low resource areas.


Draper, T. C., Fullarton, C., Phillips, N., de Lacy Costello, B. P. J., & Adamatzky, A. (2018). Liquid Marble Actuator for Microfluidic Logic Systems. Scientific Reports, 8(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 10, 2018
Publication Date Dec 1, 2018
Deposit Date Sep 20, 2018
Publicly Available Date Sep 20, 2018
Journal Scientific Reports
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Research (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 1
Keywords liquid marble, unconventional computing, microfluidic, logic gate, particle-coated droplets, mechanical computing, actuator, flip-flop
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