Active, tunable, and reversible opening and closing of particle shells on droplets may facilitate chemical reactions in droplets and enable various small-scale laboratory operations, including online detection, measurement, and adjustment of droplet liquid. Manipulating various types of particle shells in a controlled manner requires new routes. This work provides a new strategy for controlling the spatial arrangement of particle-covered oil droplets using electric fields that expands the application of responsive droplets beyond the abovementioned examples. The behavior of stimulated particle-covered droplets is exploited in multiple ways: to form an active smart device, fabricate Janus and patchy shells, create an online diagnostic tool, and produce a tool for fundamental studies. Electric fields are used here to manipulate particle films on oil droplets through the synergetic action of droplet deformation and electrohydrodynamic liquid flows. First, the effects of electric field strength and liquid viscosity on droplet deformation, surface particle arrangements, and dynamics are examined in detail. Then three examples of applications of responsive particle-covered droplets are demonstrated. Our results show that the reversible opening and closing of the droplet's shells, composed of various types of particles, can be conveniently achieved through electric fields, opening up a new possibility for applications in optics, clinical diagnostics, microfluidics, and material engineering.
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