Scientific reports 2018 02 168(1) 3157 doi 10.1038/s41598-018-20581-0
The coffee-ring effect, ubiquitously present in the drying process of aqueous droplets, impedes the performance of a myriad of applications involving precipitation of particle suspensions in evaporating liquids on solid surfaces, such as liquid biopsy combinational analysis, microarray fabrication, and ink-jet printing, to name a few. We invented the methodology of laser-induced differential evaporation to remove the coffee-ring effect. Without any additives to the liquid or any morphology modifications of the solid surface the liquid rests on, we have eliminated the coffee-ring effect by engineering the liquid evaporation profile with a COlaser irradiating the apex of the droplets. The method of laser-induced differential evaporation transitions particle deposition patterns from coffee-ring patterns to central-peak patterns, bringing all particles (e.g. fluorescent double strand DNAs) in the droplet to a designated area of 100 μm diameter without leaving any stains outside. The technique also moves the drying process from the constant contact radius (CCR) mode to the constant contact angle (CCA) mode. Physical mechanisms of this method were experimentally studied by internal flow tracking and surface evaporation flux mapping, and theoretically investigated by development of an analytical model.