A team of researchers at the RMIT University recently developed self-propelling liquid metals. A crucial development, it is expected to play a significant role in the development of flexible, reconfigurable, and soft circuit system like the ones used in 3D electronic screens and other related components. The most potent applications of this one range from biomedicine to smart engineering.
Being malleable, these liquid metals droplets get constituted by a highly-conductive metal based core along with an atomically thin semiconducting oxide skin. The later is essential in the formation of electronic circuits. To impart an autonomous character to these liquid metals droplets, the team and their leader placed these droplets in water.
The team leader, Professor Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh further explains, “Putting [liquid metal] droplets in another liquid with an ionic content … can allow them to move about freely in three dimensions. “We adjusted the concentrations of acid, base and salt components in 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.”
According to him, one can easily make a 3D liquid metal humanoid as per requirement with this liquid metal. So, the possibility of making the T-1000 Terminator might turn into reality in near future. There is much more that can be done since the world of soft electronics is evolving on a rapid rate. People are eager to infuse circuits in clothes, artificial tissues, and other related things. Addition of liquid metal in that series will definitely open up gates for several innovations.
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