In the field on controlling liquid movement on surfaces, super water-repellent surfaces have been well-documented. In contrast, comparatively fewer reports are available on the design of water pinning surfaces. In new work, scientists have achieved polymer films with exceptionally high water pinning forces through nanoimprinted surface structures, without the incorporation of any chemical treatment. This work contributes to the field on water pinning surfaces by providing a simple geometrical rule-of-thumb design of nanostructures to engineer polymeric surfaces with tunable water pinning ability.
Silicon offers a unique combination between mechanical and electrical properties making it one of the most developed materials in semiconductor industry. However, silicon is brittle and cannot be flexed, hindering its potential for high performance electronics that is flexible, stretchable or applied to irregular shapes. Researchers have now developed a pragmatic approach to achieve high performance integrated electronic systems, including thermoelectric energy harvesters, onto flexible silicon substrates.
Future electronics will look nothing like today's rigid boxes, be they the latest smartphones, tablets, or computers. Instead, they will be extremely light, soft, flexible, transparent, and integrated into everyday objects like paper or fabrics. These advanced electronic systems will be fabricated on soft substrates by integrating multiple crucial components such as logic and memory devices as well as their power supply. Researchers have now successfully demonstrated a rewritable, transferable, and flexible sticker-type organic memory on arbitrary nonconventional substrates through a simple, low-temperature and cost-effective one-step methodology.
For microprobes, both the pick-up and placement are challenging due to the adherent forces. For microgrippers, the pick-up is easier and secure due to the gripping motion, but the placement is still difficult. When a microgripper opens its gripping fingers, the microobject still adheres to one of the fingers by strong adhesion forces. Owing to force scaling laws, the adhesion forces at the microscale - capillary forces, van der Waals forces, and electrostatic forces - dominate gravity. To overcome these challenges, researchers have developed a manufacturing route to three dimensional silicon microsystems, which they termed 'micro-masonry', based on individual manipulation.
Any coating, no matter how durable, is susceptible to physical and chemical damages. Self-healing, which has become a popular theme in the field of material science, can endow coatings with ability to recover their surface properties after being damaged. New work demonstrates that a superamphiphobic fabric with remarkable multi self-healing ability against both physical and chemical damages and exceptional liquid-repellency to low surface-tension liquids including ethanol can be achieved through a two-step wet-chemistry coating technique.
Researchers are working hard to find inexpensive alternatives to platinum catalysts for use in hydrogen fuel cells. Doped carbons were discovered to be a possible alternative to platinum-based materials about five years ago. Researchers have now developed a really simple route to carbon materials that perform almost as well as a commercial platinum/carbon in a key fuel cell reaction. To make these materials, they use gelatin - the same gelatin you'd use to make jelly/jello.
It is a challenge to measure the temperature variation at the surface of nanoparticles under optical illumination since nano-localized temperature variation is the most important parameter for applications ranging from nanomedicine to photonics. In particular, the conversion of light to heat trough the exploitation of the Localized Plasmonic Resonance (LPR) has enabled a remarkable breakthrough in fighting cancer. Now, researchers have advanced the monitoring of nanoscale temperature variations under optical illumination by combining the properties of gold nanorods and the capabilities of thermotropic cholesteric liquid crystals.
The ability to pattern materials into arbitrary 3D microstructures is important for electronics, microfluidic networks, tissue engineering scaffolds, photonic band gap structures, and chemical synthesis. However, existing commercial processes to 3D print metals usually require expensive equipment and large temperatures. In contrast, a novel, relatively simple method can print metal structures at room temperature. This makes the technique it compatible with many other materials including plastics. Also, the resulting structures are liquid and are therefore soft and stretchable.