Field-Induced Wettability Gradients for No-Loss Transport of Oil Droplets on Slippery Surfaces

Biao Tang, Chuanzhi Meng, Lei Zhuang, Jan Groenewold, Yuyang Qian, Zhongqian Sun, Xueli Liu, Jun Gao, Guofu Zhou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Transporting oil droplets is crucial for a wide range of industrial and biomedical applications but remains highly challenging due to the large contact angle hysteresis on most solid surfaces. A liquid-infused slippery surface has a low hysteresis contact angle and is a highly promising platform if sufficient wettability gradient can be created. Current strategies used to create wettability gradient typically rely on the engineering of the chemical composition or geometrical structure. However, these strategies are inefficient on a slippery surface because the infused liquid tends to conceal the gradient in the chemical composition and small-scale geometrical structure. Magnifying the structure, on the other hand, will significantly distort the surface topography, which is unwanted in practice. In this study, we address this challenge by introducing a field-induced wettability gradient on a flat slippery surface. By printing radial electrodes array, we can pattern the electric field, which induces gradient contact angles. Theoretical analysis and experimental results reveal that the droplet transport behavior can be captured by a nondimensional electric Bond number. Our surface enables no-loss transport of various types of droplets, which we expect to find important applications such as heat transfer, anticontamination, microfluidics, and biochemical analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38723-38729
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2020


  • electric field
  • microfluidics
  • no-loss liquid transport
  • slippery surface
  • wettability gradient
  • n/a OA procedure


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