Programmable droplet manipulation by a magnetic-actuated robot

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Science Advances  14 Feb 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 7, eaay5808
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay5808


Droplet manipulations are fundamental to numerous applications, such as water collection, medical diagnostics, and drug delivery. Structure-based liquid operations have been widely used both in nature and in artificial materials. However, current strategies depend mainly on fixed structures to realize unidirectional water movement, while multiple manipulation of droplets is still challenging. Here, we propose a magnetic-actuated robot with adjustable structures to achieve programmable multiple manipulations of droplets. The adjustable structure redistributes the resisting forces from the front and rear ends of the droplets, which determine the droplet behaviors. We can transport, split, release, and rotate the droplets using the robot. This robot is universally applicable for manipulation of various fluids in rough environments. These findings offer an efficient strategy for automated manipulation of droplets.

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