Liquid Metals at the Extreme – EML Webinar with Michael Dickey

Liquid metals? Usually the term evokes thoughts of mercury (toxic!) or the Terminator (a villain!). Yet, galliumbased liquid metals are often overlooked despite their remarkable properties: melting points below room temperature, water-like viscosity, low-toxicity, and effectively zero vapor pressure (they do not evaporate).  They also have, by far, the largest interfacial tension of any liquid at room temperature. Normally small volumes of liquids with large tension form spherical or hemi-spherical structures to minimize surface energy.  Yet, these liquid metals can be patterned into non-spherical shapes (cones, wires, antennas) due to a thin, oxide skin that forms rapidly on its surface.  This talk will describe efforts in our research group to harness this oxide to pattern and manipulate metal into useful shapes—such as circuits and particles—that are useful for applications that call for soft and deformable metallic features.  Because it is a liquid, it is possible to pattern the metal in unique ways, such as injection or direct-write 3D printing at room temperature to form ultra-stretchable wires, self-healing circuits, and soft logic devices (the latter of which perform logic without semiconductors).  Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of liquid metals it the ability to use interfacial electrochemistry chemistry to remove / deposit the oxide to manipulate the surface tension of the metal over unprecedented ranges (from the largest tension of any known liquid to near zero!). This has implications for manipulating the shape and position of the metal for shape reconfigurable devices.  This work has implications for soft and stretchable electronics; that is, devices with desirable mechanical properties for human-machine interfacing, soft robotics, and wearable electronics.

Zoom Discussion: 271 079 684

YouTube Live: Wednesday,

24 June 2020 10 am Boston, 3 pm London, 10 pm Beijing