Light-induced charged slippery surfaces

Sci Adv. 2022 Jul 8;8(27):eabp9369. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abp9369. Epub 2022 Jul 8.


Slippery lubricant-infused porous (SLIPS) and superhydrophobic surfaces have emerged as promising interfacial materials for various applications such as self-cleaning, anti-icing, and antifouling. Paradoxically, the coverage/screening of lubricant layer on underlying rough matrix endows functionalities impossible on superhydrophobic surfaces; however, the inherent flexibility in programming droplet manipulation through tailoring structure or surface charge gradient in underlying matrix is compromised. Here, we develop a class of slippery material that harnesses the dual advantages of both solid and lubricant. This is achieved by rationally constructing a photothermal-responsive composite matrix with real-time light-induced surface charge regeneration capability, enabling photocontrol of droplets in various working scenarios. We demonstrate that this light-induced charged slippery surface (LICS) exerts photocontrol of droplets with fast speed, long distance, antigravity motion, and directionally collective motion. We further extend the LICS to biomedical domains, ranging from specific morphological hydrogel bead formation in an open environment to biological diagnosis and analysis in closed-channel microfluidics.