Microfluidic Liquid Marbles Form Mosquito-Like Hydrophobic Compound Eyes

The ability to mimic nature—biomimetics—provides scientists a roadmap to fabricate complex micro- and nanoscale structures that take on the useful functions of the plant or animal being duplicated. Using microfluidics, nanoparticles, and patterned surfaces in a reproducible and scalable process, researchers at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) were able to create lens arrays from ‘liquid marbles’ that achieve the corresponding wide field of view, nearly infinite depth of field, peripheral vision without aberration, and even anti-fogging properties achieved by the compound eyes of mosquitoes.

In their analysis of the mosquito-eye structure, they observed that unlike many other compound eyes consisting of lenslet arrays on concave or convex surfaces that fan out like a flower or are created through nanoparticle assembly, the individual lenslets on the mosquito eyes had their own nanoscale structures that enabled water-repellant properties.

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