Separation of micro-scaled water-in-oil droplets is important in environmental protection, bioassays, and saving functional inks. So far, bulk oil–water separation has been achieved by membrane separation and sponge absorption, but micro-drop separation still remains a challenge. Herein we report that instead of the “plug-and-go” separation model, tiny water-in-oil droplets can be separated into pure water and oil droplets through “go-in-opposite ways” on curved peristome-mimetic surfaces, in milliseconds, without energy input. More importantly, this overflow controlled method can be applied to handle oil-in-oil droplets with surface tension differences as low as 14.7 mN m−1 and viscous liquids with viscosities as high as hundreds centipoises, which markedly increases the range of applicable liquids for micro-scaled separation. Furthermore, the curved peristome-mimetic surface guides the separated drops in different directions with high efficiency.
- bio-mimetic surfaces
- peristome surface
- uni-directional transportation
- water-in-oil drop