Superhydrophobic Droplet Logic DevelopedCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: September 10, 2012 06:55AM
Though almost all modern computing relies on logical operations performed on electronic bits, these bits are not the only thing such operations can be run on. Really that is all you need the ability to perform logical operations on something, whether it be an electron, photon, ion, plasmon, or water droplet. Yes, logical operations can be performed on water droplets as researchers at Aalto University have recently discovered.
To perform such operations on water droplets, the researchers are taking advantage of superhydrophobic surfaces which not only cause water droplets to bead on them, but also impair the ability of the droplets to merge when they collide. As you can see below, the droplets simply bounce off of each other like billiard balls. However, it is still possible to have the droplets merge, which the researchers find intriguing as a way to act both as a chemical reactor and as a logical bit (link goes to a video).
Of course you would likely not be able to run Crysis on a superhydrophobic droplet logic machine, but there are still some uses for this technology. For example, the technology does not require electricity to run, which opens up some possibilities, and it could be used for programmable biochemical analysis devices.