Research breakthrough in bionic liquid-transport surface - Topological Liquid Diode

Date:05-12-2017   |   【Print】 【close

Directed and spontaneous transport of a liquid on a solid surface is highly desired in various settings that range from microfluidics, printing, and oil-water separation to water harvesting technologies. Despite com- mendable progresses, it remains a daunting undertaking to mimic the structural and the functional sophistication inherent in living organisms in a facile and reproducible manner. Recently, Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology (SIMIT), Chinese Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with City University of Hong Kong (CityU), China University of Petroleum (East China), Northumbria University and Lehigh University made a breakthrough in the field of bionic liquid-transport surface. The research was published in Science Advances (Vol. 3, no. 10, eaao3530 on Oct. 27.

The research reports a new method of microscopic liquid transport based on a unique topological structure. This method breaks the contact line pinning through efficient conversion of excess surface energy to kinetic energy at the advancing edge of the droplet while simultaneously arresting the reverse motion of the droplet via strong pinning. The study reveals the intrinsic mechanism of directional liquid-transport on functional surface structure, and realizes a novel topological liquid diode that allows for a rapid, directional, and long-distance transport of virtually any kind of liquid without the need for an external energy input. And the ease of fabrication, generality, and intriguing transport performances of the reported topological liquid diode will open up new avenues to tailor advanced microstructures for self-propelled liquid manipulation in a variety of applications, including water harvesting, heat management, ink-jet printing, and emulsion separation. This research has opened up a new theoretical orientation and technical foundation for the design and manufacture of micro/nano functional surface.

Dr.Xiaofeng Zhou from SIMIT and PhD student Jiaqian Li from CityU are the co-first authors, Prof. Zuankai Wang form CityU and Prof. Manoj K. Chaudhury from Lehigh University are the corresponding authors.


Contact informations:

Prof. Zuankai Wang,

Prof. Manoj K. Chaudhury,

Dr. Xiaofeng Zhou,