Surface tension measurement of single droplets in emulsion
Begeleider(s): ir. Stijn Vandewiele


Studying particles and measuring their properties is a daily task in different domains including pharmacy, the ink industry and biotechnology. Some examples of such particles are molecules, DNA, ink pigments and biosensor probes. As these particles are in suspension, they are subject to Brownian motion. This makes it difficult to perform long measurements. An Anti-Brownian ELektrokinetic (ABEL)-trap makes it possible to counter these movements with elektrophoresis allowing us to have full control of the particle's position. The use of an adapted ABEL-trap with eight electrodes (an octupole configuration) would allow to manipulate two particles simultaneously and independently.

Particle manipulation with an electrical ABEL trap could allow to measure the surface tension of water droplets in oil (an emulsion) by trying to deform one particle by the other or to let them coalescence. This principle can for instance be used to act as a biosensor.

Figure: Octupole with eight voltages forming an ABEL-trap for two particles.


In this thesis a device with eight electrodes in octupole configuration,and software will need to be developed to allow precise control of two particles simultaneously.
To tackle this problem, simulations of the electric field and the resulting force are required.
Fabrication of new devices will be done in the cleanroom in Zwijnaarde.

Ultimately, this device will be used to measure the surface tension of single water droplets in oil.
Two routes to accomplish this will be investigated:

The staff of the LCP group will provide you with all the necessary help and know-how, but we also encourage you to take the initiative to come up with your own ideas to tackle the project. Where feasible and within the scope of the project, we'll support you to develop these ideas.