When liquid meets gas, a new zone forms, molecules (variable by nature) can cross from one state to another. They combine to either desirable or unwanted ends in unique ways—lack of tools capable of precisely controlling such interfaces limits their applications. Now, researchers have developed the first controllable gas-liquid interfaces at the nanoscale.
Whether it’s engineered or occurs in nature, gas-liquid interfaces play an essential role in numerous chemical and biological processes. Fabricating controllable, nanoscale versions of these interfaces is still challenging because nanofluidic channels are too small to use conventional approaches to surface control.
Fluidic devices help researchers capture target molecules and examine specific properties and force interactions through nanoscale channels designed with precisely controlled geometry. In microfluidic devices, changing the surface of the channels (1,000 times larger than those in nanofluidic devices) can attract or reject specific molecules. While microfluidic devices make use of a variety of materials, nanofluidic devices require a glass substrate.