From chaos, sticky order

This material might be the future of soft, nanomaterials. 

Researchers from the North Carolina State University, in the US, have created ordered particles with sticky properties – like those of gecko feet – with the ability to stick to almost every surface. 

They harnessed liquid-driven chaos to produce the soft polymer microparticles that could lead to advances in gels, pastes, foods, nonwovens and coatings. 

“We use ‘liquid’ nanomanufacturing to convert most polymers into branched particles after dissolving the polymer and mixing the solution rapidly with another liquid,” says corresponding author Orlin Velev from NC State University, US. 

The liquid process that was used to create the materials is generally efficient and inexpensive. Velev also adds that the fabrication process can be easily scaled up to produce large amounts of the soft nanomaterial. 

The findings are described in the journal Nature Materials

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