A new zone is formed when liquid meets gas, and molecules (naturally variable) can cross from one state to another. They combine in novel ways to achieve either desirable or undesirable results—the lack of tools capable of precisely controlling such interfaces limits their applications. Researchers have created the first nanoscale controllable gas-liquid interfaces.
Whether engineered or natural, gas-liquid interfaces play an important role in various chemical and biological processes. Because nanofluidic channels are too small to use conventional surface control methods, fabricating controllable, nanoscale versions of these interfaces remains difficult.
Through nanoscale channels with precisely controlled geometry, microfluidic devices enable researchers to capture target molecules and investigate specific properties and force interactions. Changing the surface of the channels (1,000 times larger than those in nanofluidic devices) in microfluidic devices can attract or reject specific molecules. While microfluidic devices can be made from various materials, nanofluidic devices must be made from glass.
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