The present work focuses on the plasma deposition of fluorocarbon (FC) films on surfaces and the electrostatic control of their wettability (electrowetting). Such films can be employed for actuation of fluid transport in microfluidic devices, when deposited over patterned electrodes. Here, the deposition was performed using C4F8 and the plasma parameters that permit the creation of films with optimized properties desirable for electrowetting were established. The wettability of the plasma-deposited surfaces was characterized by means of contact angle measurements (in the static and dynamic mode). The thickness of the deposited films was probed in situ by means of spectroscopic ellipsometry, while the surface roughness was provided by atomic force microscopy. These plasma-deposited FC films in combination with silicon nitride, a material of high dielectric constant, were used to create a dielectric structure that requires reduced voltages for successful electrowetting. Electrowetting experiments using protein solutions were conducted on such optimized dielectric structures and were compared with similar structures bearing commercial spin-coated Teflon® amorphous fluoropolymer (AF) film as the hydrophobic top layer. Our results show that plasma-deposited FC films have desirable electrowetting behavior and minimal protein adsorption, a requirement for successful transport of biological solutions in “digital” microfluidics.

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