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Magnetism-Actuated Superhydrophobic Flexible Microclaw: From Spatial Microdroplet Maneuvering to Cross-Species Control

Yahui Su, Xinran Fan, , Zhicheng Li, Yucheng Bian, Chuanzong Li, Yiyuan Zhang, Lin Liu, Yanlei Hu,
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Abstract: The flexible maneuvering of microliter liquid droplets is significant in both fundamental science and practical applications. However, most current strategies are limited to the rigid locomotion on confined geographies platforms, which greatly hinder their practical uses. Here, we propose a magnetism-actuated superhydrophobic flexible microclaw (MSFM) with hierarchical structures for water droplet manipulation. By virtue of precise femtosecond laser patterning on magnetism-responsive poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) films doped with carbonyl iron powder, this MSFM without chemical contamination exhibits powerful spatial droplet maneuvering advantages with fast response (<100 ms) and lossless water transport (∼50 cycles) in air. We further performed quantitative analysis of diverse experimental parameters including petal number, length, width, and iron element proportion in MSFM impacting the applicable maneuvering volumes. By coupling the advantages of spatial maneuverability and fast response into this versatile platform, typical unique applications are demonstrated such as programmable coalescence of droplets, collecting debris via droplets, tiny solid manipulation in aqueous severe environments, and harmless living creature control. We envision that this versatile MSFM should provide great potential for applications in microfluidics and cross-species robotics.
Keywords: droplet manipulation / laser fabrication / flexible actuator / magnetism-responsive materials / microclaw / cross-species control

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