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Towards Computing With Water Droplets

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Water drops

Credit: Maheash Nelanka

Water droplets could serve as bits of digital information for a new type of computing, according to researchers at Aalto University.

The team used superhydrophobic tracks to guide water droplets along designed paths, and discovered that upon collision with each other on the high water-repellent surface, the two droplets rebound as if they were billiard balls. The researchers built a memory device in which water droplets act as bits of digital information, and demonstrated devices for elementary Boolean logic operations. Moreover, when the water droplets are loaded with reactive chemical cargo, the onset of a chemical reaction could be controlled by droplet collisions. The combination of the collision-controlled chemical reactions with droplet logic operations could allow for programmable chemical reactions in which single droplets serve simultaneously as miniature reactors and bits for computing.

The researchers say technology based on superhydrophobic droplet logic could be used for autonomous simple logic devices not requiring electricity, as well as programmable biochemical analysis devices.

From Aalto University
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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


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