A microactuator for rapid manipulation of discrete microdroplets is presented. Microactuation is accomplished by direct electrical control of the surface tension through two sets of opposing planar electrodes fabricated on glass. A prototype device consisting of a linear array of seven electrodes at 1.5 mm pitch was fabricated and tested. Droplets (0.7–1.0 μl) of 100 mM KCl solution were successfully transferred between adjacent electrodes at voltages of 40–80 V. Repeatable transport of droplets at electrode switching rates of up to 20 Hz and average velocities of 30 mm/s have been demonstrated. This speed represents a nearly 100-fold increase over previously demonstrated electrical methods for the transport of droplets on solid surfaces. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.