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Liquid beads on a surface composed of silicon "nanonails." Made by Tom Krupenkin and J. Ashley Taylor of University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Mechanical Engineering, the surface repels virtually all liquids, including water, oil, solvents and detergents. When an electrical current is applied, the liquid slips past the nail heads and between the shanks to wet the entire surface. According to Krupenkin, the nails create such a rough surface at the nanoscale that liquids only touch the surface at the extreme ends of the forest of nails, so the liquid is like sitting on a bed of air.
Image credit: courtesy Tom Krupenkin

Silicon "nanonails" created by Tom Krupenkin and J. Ashley Taylor of University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Mechanical Engineering, form the basis of a novel surface that repels virtually all liquids, including water, solvents, detergents and oils. When electrical current is applied, the liquids slip past the nail heads and between the shanks of the nails and wet the entire surface. The surface may have applications in biomedical devices such as "labs-on-a-chip" and in extending the life of batteries.
Image credit: courtesy Tom Krupenkin
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