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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jul 30;110(31):12541-4. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1307122110. Epub 2013 Jun 24.

Patterning droplets with durotaxis.

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1
Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.

Abstract

Numerous cell types have shown a remarkable ability to detect and move along gradients in stiffness of an underlying substrate--a process known as durotaxis. The mechanisms underlying durotaxis are still unresolved, but generally believed to involve active sensing and locomotion. Here, we show that simple liquid droplets also undergo durotaxis. By modulating substrate stiffness, we obtain fine control of droplet position on soft, flat substrates. Unlike other control mechanisms, droplet durotaxis works without imposing chemical, thermal, electrical, or topographical gradients. We show that droplet durotaxis can be used to create large-scale droplet patterns and is potentially useful for many applications, such as microfluidics, thermal control, and microfabrication.

KEYWORDS:

droplet control; elasticity; mechanosensing; soft matter; wetting

Comment in

PMID:
23798415
PMCID:
PMC3732974
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1307122110
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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