An international team of researchers has developed a dynamic surface with reconfigurable topography that can sculpt and re-sculpt microscale to macroscale features, change its friction and slipperiness and tune other properties based on its proximity to a magnetic field. The surface is nicknamed FLIPS, short for ferrofluid-containin,g liquid-infused porous surfaces. Made by infusing a magnetic fluid in a solid microtexture, the researchers demonstrated how the surface could be used to direct the movement and assembly of microscale particles; regulate the flow and mixing of millimeter-sized droplets; or turn adhesive properties on and off at the macroscale. The new technology could impact the fields of microscale manufacturing, investigating microorganisms, small-scale diagnostics, liquid pumping and large-scale reversible adhesives.
Provided by Harvard SEAS