Blog - Demonstration of Actuation-at-a-Distance Effect for Labs on a Chip: Today, he and his pal Matthieu Gaude put the photoelectrowetting effect into action. These guys have made a cantilever sitting above an insulated conductor and placed a droplet of water between them so that it fills the gap by capillary action (see above).
Zapping this system with light changes the wetting angle the droplet makes with the cantilever and the electrode below. This makes the droplet thinner, pulling the cantilever down.
The ability to actuate at a distance using light alone could have many applications because it eliminates the need for the complex circuitry and pumps now used to transport droplets. It could also allow optical addressing of autonomous, wireless sensors.