Liquid Wells as Self-Healing, Functional Analogues to Solid Vessels

  • chair:

    Scheiger, J.M. / Kuzina, M.A. / Eigenbrod, M. / Wu, Y. / Wang, F. / Heißler, S. / Hardt, S. / Nestler, B. / Levkin, P.A. (2021)

  • place:

    Advanced Materials, 2021,

  • Date: Mai 2021
  • Abstract

    Liquids are traditionally handled and stored in solid vessels. Solid walls are not functional, adaptive, or self-repairing, and are difficult to remove and re-form. Liquid walls can overcome these limitations, but cannot form free-standing 3D walls. Herein, a liquid analogue of a well, termed a “liquid well” is introduced. Water tethered to a surface with hydrophobic–hydrophilic core–shell patterns forms stable liquid walls capable of containing another immiscible fluid, similar to fluid confinement by solid walls. Liquid wells with different liquids, volumes, and shapes are prepared and investigated by confocal and Raman microscopy. The confinement of various low-surface-tension liquids (LSTLs) on surfaces by liquid wells can compete with or be complementary to existing confinement strategies using perfluorinated surfaces, for example, in terms of the shape and height of the confined LSTLs. Liquid wells show unique properties arising from their liquid aggregate state: they are self-healing, dynamic, and functional, that is, not restricted to a passive confining role. Water walls can be easily removed and re-formed, making them interesting as sacrificial templates. This is demonstrated in a process termed water-templated polymerization (WTP). Numerical phase-field model simulations are performed to scrutinize the conditions required for the formation of stable liquid wells.