Rapid Programmable Nanodroplet Motion on a Strain-Gradient Surface

Baidu ZHANG, Xiangbiao LIAO*, Youlong CHEN, Hang XIAO, Yong NI*, Xi CHEN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


When a nanodroplet is placed on a lattice surface, an inhomogeneous surface strain field perturbs the balance of van der Waals force between the nanodroplet and surface, thus providing a net driving force for nanodroplet motion. Using molecular dynamics and theoretical analysis, we study the effect of strain gradient on modulating the movement of a nanodroplet. Both modeling and simulation show that the driving force is opposite to the direction of strain gradient, with a magnitude that is proportional to the strain gradient as well as nanodroplet size. Two representative surfaces, graphene and copper (111) plane, are exemplified to demonstrate the controllable motion of the nanodroplet. When the substrate undergoes various types of reversible deformations, multiple motion modes of nanodroplets can be feasibly achieved, including acceleration, deceleration, and turning, becoming a facile strategy to manipulate nanodroplets along a designed two-dimensional pathway. Copyright © 2019 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2865-2870
Number of pages6
Issue number7
Early online date2 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The work of X.L. and X.C. was supported by the Yonghong Zhang Family Center for Advanced Materials for Energy and Environment. X.L. acknowledges support from the China Scholarship Council (CSC) graduate scholarship. This work was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grant no. XDB22040502), the Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology, and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (grant no. WK2090050043).


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