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Universal evaporation dynamics of ordered arrays of sessile droplets

  • Sandeep Hatte (a1) (a2), Keshav Pandey (a1), Khushboo Pandey (a3), Suman Chakraborty (a4) and Saptarshi Basu (a1) (a3)...


Manipulation of an array of surface droplets organised in an ordered structure turns out to be of immense consequence in a wide variety of applications ranging from photonics, near field imaging and inkjet printing on the one hand to bio-molecular analysis and DNA sequencing on the other. While evaporation of a single isolated sessile droplet has been well studied, the collective evaporative dynamics of an ordered array of droplets on a solid substrate remains elusive. Physically, the closed region between the centre and side droplets in the ordered array reduces the mobility of the diffusing vapour, resulting in its accumulation along with enhanced local concentration and a consequent increment in the lifetime of the centre droplet. Here, we present a theoretical model to account for evaporation lifetime scaling in closely placed ordered linear droplet arrays. In addition, the present theory predicts the limiting cases of droplet interaction; namely, critical droplet separation for which interfacial interaction ceases to exist and minimum possible droplet separation (droplets on the verge of coalescence) for which the droplet system achieves maximum lifetime scaling. Further experimental evidence demonstrates the applicability of the present scaling theory to extended dimensions of the droplet array, generalising our physical conjecture. It is also worth noting that the theoretical time scale is applicable across a wide variety of drop–substrate combinations and initial droplet volumes. We also highlight that the scaling law proposed here can be extended seamlessly to other forms of confinement such as an evaporating droplet inside a mini-channel, as encountered in countless applications ranging from biomedical engineering to surface patterning.


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