Fast responsive and controllable liquid transport on a magnetic fluid/nanoarray composite interface
Controllable liquid transport on surface is expected to occur by manipulating the gradient of surface tension/Laplace pressure and external stimuli, which has been intensively studied on solid or liquid interface. However, it still faces challenges of slow response rate, and uncontrollable transport speed and direction. Here, we demonstrate fast responsive and controllable liquid transport on a smart magnetic fluid/nanoarray interface, i.e., a composite interface, via modulation of an external magnetic field. The wettability of the composite interface to water instantaneously responds to gradient magnetic field due to the magnetically driven composite interface gradient roughness transition that takes place within a millisecond, which is at least 1 order of magnitude faster than that of other responsive surfaces. A water droplet can follow the motion of the gradient composite interface structure as it responds to the gradient magnetic field motion. Moreover, the water droplet transport direction can be controlled by modulating the motion direction of the gradient magnetic field. The composite interface can be used as a pump for the transport of immiscible liquids and other objects in the microchannel, which suggests a way to design smart interface materials and microfluidic devices.