Dynamic air/liquid pockets for guiding microscale
, Jianyu Li
, Alexander B. Tesler
, Yuxing Yao
, Miao Wang
, Lingli Min
, Zhizhi Sheng
Microscale ﬂows of ﬂuids are mainly guided either by solid matrices or by liquid–liquid
interfaces. However, the solid matrices are plagued with persistent fouling problems, while
liquid–liquid interfaces are limited to low-pressure applications. Here we report a dynamic
liquid/solid/gas material containing both air and liquid pockets, which are formed by partially
inﬁltrating a porous matrix with a functional liquid. Using detailed theoretical and experi-
mental data, we show that the distribution of the air- and liquid-ﬁlled pores is responsive to
pressure and enables the formation and instantaneous recovery of stable liquid–liquid
interfaces that sustain a wide range of pressures and prevent channel contamination. This
adaptive design is demonstrated for polymeric materials and extended to metal-based sys-
tems that can achieve unmatched mechanical and thermal stability. Our platform with its
unique adaptive pressure and antifouling capabilities may offer potential solutions to ﬂow
control in microﬂuidics, medical devices, microscale synthesis, and biological assays.
Research Institute for Soft Matter and Biomimetics, College of Physical Science and Technology, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China.
Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials, State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid
Surface, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China.
John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired
Engineering, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 0G4, Canada.
Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA. Xu Hou and Jianyu Li equally contributed to this work.
Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to X.H. (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or to J.A. (email: email@example.com)