A new technique in which beads of water can be interlocked in ambient conditions may be quite valuable for several applications such as membrane research, biological sensing as well as to harvest water from fog.
A method has been developed by the Researchers at Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory for creation of air-stable water droplet networks which are also termed as droplet interface bilayers. These water droplets that are interconnected play many roles in biological research because the cell membranes. However, owing to cumbersome methods of fabrication, their use is limited.
The way they are made since inception is that in an oil bath, 2 water droplets are formed and then are brought together after submerging them in oil. If this is not done, they would be seen popping up like soap bubbles.
Instead of water droplets being injected into oil bath, the droplets were placed on superhydrophobic surface and were infused with an oil coating. The alignment of the droplets was seen side by side and there was no merging. Even the researcher was surprised when non-coalescing water droplet networks were formed without lipids being included in the water solution. Phospholipids are typically incorporated into the mixture of water and this results into interlocking lipid bilayer being formed between the droplets of water.