Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Towards the T-1000: Liquid metals propel future electronics

04.08.2016

Self-propelling liquid metals a critical step to future elastic electronics

Science fiction is inching closer to reality with the development of revolutionary self-propelling liquid metals -- a critical step towards future elastic electronics.


Continuous motion of a self-propelling liquid metal droplet under a pH gradient, shown at different time intervals. The droplet is placed in a fluidic channel, midway between two reservoirs filled with different electrolytes of acidic and basic nature.

Credit: RMIT University

While building a shape-shifting liquid metal T-1000 Terminator may still be far on the horizon, the pioneering work by researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, is setting the foundation for moving beyond solid state electronics towards flexible and dynamically reconfigurable soft circuit systems.

Watch the YouTube video: http://bit.ly/liquidmetalresearch

Modern electronic technologies like smart phones and computers are mainly based on circuits that use solid state components, with fixed metallic tracks and semiconducting devices.

But researchers dream of being able to create truly elastic electronic components -- soft circuit systems that can act more like live cells, moving around autonomously and communicating with each other to form new circuits rather than being stuck in one configuration.

Liquid metals, in particular non-toxic alloys of gallium, have so far offered the most promising path for realising that dream.

As well as being incredibly malleable, any droplet of liquid metal contains a highly-conductive metallic core and an atomically thin semiconducting oxide skin -- all the essentials needed for making electronic circuits.

To work out how to enable liquid metal to move autonomously, Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh and his group from the School of Engineering at RMIT first immersed liquid metal droplets in water.

"Putting droplets in another liquid with an ionic content can be used for breaking symmetry across them and allow them to move about freely in three dimensions, but so far we have not understood the fundamentals of how liquid metal interacts with surrounding fluid," Kalantar-zadeh said.

"We adjusted the concentrations of acid, base and salt components in the water and investigated the effect.

"Simply tweaking the water's chemistry made the liquid metal droplets move and change shape, without any need for external mechanical, electronic or optical stimulants.

"Using this discovery, we were able to create moving objects, switches and pumps that could operate autonomously - self-propelling liquid metals driven by the composition of the surrounding fluid."

The research lays the foundation for being able to use "electronic" liquid metals to make 3D electronic displays and components on demand, and create makeshift and floating electronics.

"Eventually, using the fundamentals of this discovery, it may be possible to build a 3D liquid metal humanoid on demand - like the T-1000 Terminator but with better programming," Kalantar-zadeh said.

The research, which has potential applications in a range of industries including smart engineering solutions and biomedicine, is published on 4 August in Nature Communications.

In the paper, first author Dr Ali Zavabeti details the precise conditions in which liquid metals can be moved or stretched, how fluid on their surfaces moves around and -- as a result -- how they can make different flows.

The work also explains how the electric charges that accumulate on the surface of liquid metal droplets, together with their oxide skin, can be manipulated and used.

Media Contact

Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh
kourosh.kalantar@rmit.edu.au
61-399-253-254

 @RMIT

http://www.rmit.edu.au 

Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh | EurekAlert!

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Supercomputing the emergence of material behavior
18.05.2018 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center

nachricht Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss
18.05.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>