Superhydrophobic surfaces, both natural and artificial, cause aqueous drops to bead on them. The most water-repellent surfaces produce nearly perfect spheres with very little contact between water, solutes, and surface due to the roughness of the surface ^1^. However, a related phenomenon that has not been well appreciated until recently, is that colloidal particles in the aqueous drop remain highly mobile, and smaller-sized colloids migrate to the drop surface due to both the driving force of evaporation and the expanded liquid/air interface ^2-3^. A newly identified, third useful optical property resulting from the suspension of an aqueous drop by the superhydrophobic surface is that a spheroidal lens is created. Without any additional energy or instrumentation, the simple placement of an aqueous sample on a superhydrophobic surface followed by the placement of a reagent drop results in very rapid mixing and a means to detect and monitor antigens via agglutination.
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Garcia, A., Schneider, J. Rapid antigen detection using the liquid sample as a lens and self-mixer for light scattering detection. Nat Prec (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/npre.2010.4754.1
- rapid diagnostics
- low resource settings