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Prof. Xu Hou’s Leading Research Field “Liquid Gating Technology” is selected into IUPAC “2020 Top Ten Emerging Technologies in Chemistry”

Posted:2020-10-28  Visits:

Recently, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has released the results of its 2020 search for the Top Ten Emerging Technologies in Chemistry.  Prof. Xu Hou’s “Liquid Gating Technology” is one of them.

 "Liquid gating" is a new concept first proposed by Hou Xu in 2015. In recent years, Hou Xu's team has developed the original concept and made the idea come into reality successfully.

Liquid Gating Technology

The idea of using liquids as a structural material to build responsive gates sounds counterintuitive—even verges on science fiction. However, this idea, originally proposed in 2015, has already become a reality, and could soon bring many novel applications. Usually, liquid membranes work thanks to differences in concentration and potential astride the border. However, liquid gating membranes respond to pressure changes that rely on capillarity. At the microscale, phenomenon allows certain liquids to selectively open and close pores on-demand.

Liquid gates can selectively process mixtures of fluids without clogging. Thus, researchers predict that they could become extremely useful for large-scale filtration and separation processes. Among other things, liquid gates could accelerate the progress towards SDG 6, which looks to ensure access to clean water and sanitation for all. Moreover, since liquid gates require no electricity at all, they ensure huge energy savings.

Besides separation, liquid gates could find uses in many other fields, such as chemical sensors, microfluidic arrays, high efficiency catalysis, biological tissue printing, and lab-on-chip applications. Despite its novelty, liquid gating technology has already been recognized as a key innovation by prospecting company TechConnect, in the U.S. “It is sufficiently mature and attractive for licensing and investment,” they said. Hopefully, liquid gates will soon be scaled-up and adopted by key players in the chemical enterprise.