Unidirectional liquid spreading without energy input has attracted considerable attention due to various potential applications such as biofluidics devices and self-lubrication. Introducing a surface wettable gradient or asymmetric nanostructures onto the surface has successfully harnessed the liquid to spread unidirectionally. However, these surfaces are still plagued with problems that restrict their practical applications: fixed spreading state for a fixed surface, and spreading slowly over a short distance. Herein, bioinspired from the fast continuous unidirectional water transport on the peristome of Nepenthes alata, we report a smart peristome with temperature-controlled unidirectional water spreading. The smart artificial peristome was fabricated by grafting the thermoresponsive material PNIPAAm onto the artificial PDMS peristome. Unidirectional water spreading on the smart peristome can be dynamically regulated by changing the surface temperature. Besides, the water spreading is demonstrated with a remarkable reversibility and stability. By investigating the relationship between liquid spreading distance and wettability, the underlying mechanism was revealed. This work gives a new way to achieve the control of unidirectional liquid spreading available for controllable microfluidics and medical devices.
- artificial peristome
- Nepenthes alata
- smart surface
- temperature-controlled water spreading
- unidirectional liquid spreading