Surface Nanodroplets: Formation, Dissolution, and Applications

Jiasheng Qian, Gilmar F. Arends, Xuehua Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Droplets at solid-liquid interfaces play essential roles in a broad range of fields, such as compartmentalized chemical reactions and conversions, high-throughput analysis and sensing, and super-resolution near-field imaging. Our recent work has focused on understanding and controlling the nanodroplet formation on solid surfaces in ternary liquid mixtures. These surface nanodroplets resemble tiny liquid lenses with a typical height of <1 μm and a volume of subfemtoliters. The solvent exchange is based on the process of displacing a droplet liquid solution by a poor solvent to create a transient oversaturation for droplet formation. A quantitative understanding of growth dynamics of surface nanodroplets in ternary liquid mixtures not only provides insight into the liquid-liquid phase separation induced by solvent addition in general but also has made it possible to control the droplet size well. This review article will summarize our findings in the last ∼5 years from the research with our collaborators. The first part will explain the fundamental aspects that are key to the formation and stability of surface nanodroplets. In the second part, we will highlight the applications of nanodroplets in chemical analysis and functional surface fabrication and finally point out future directions in droplet-based applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12583-12596
Number of pages14
Issue number39
Early online date27 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


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