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Liquid-infused surfaces move toward commercial applications

By Scott Jenkins |

A set of technologies that create an immobilized thin layer of lubricant on a solid surface, thus enabling highly repellent, omniphobic surfaces, has moved closer to commercial application. Known as slippery, liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS), the technologies can be applied to metal, plastic, glass and ceramic surfaces, and can repel a wide range of liquids and biological fouling agents. “SLIPS differ fundamentally from other nanostructured repellent surfaces because they maintain a resilient liquid covering over the solid surface, rather than presenting a solid surface to a liquid to be repelled,” explains Daniel Behr, CEO of SLIPS Technologies (Cambridge, Mass.; www.slipstechnologies.com), which is commercializing the technology under an exclusive license from Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.; www.harvard.edu), where SLIPS were first invented. “The surface texture does not have to be highly ordered, as in nanostructured coatings, allowing an easier path to scaling up the technology,” he says. (For more on nanostructured, superomniphobic surfaces, see Chem. Eng., January 2015, p. 12). The general process by which SLIPS are created involves introducing some degree of porosity or roughness to a solid surface, which…
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