Instability mediated self-templating of drop crystals

Lingzhi Cai, Joel Marthelot, P. T. Brun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The breakup of liquid threads into droplets is prevalent in engineering and natural settings. While drop formation in these systems has a long-standing history, existing studies typically consider axisymmetric systems. Conversely, the physics at play when multiple threads are involved and the interaction of a thread with a symmetry breaking boundary remain unexplored. Here, we show that the breakup of closely spaced liquid threads sequentially printed in an immiscible bath locks into crystal-like lattices of droplets. We rationalize the hydrodynamics at the origin of this previously unknown phenomenon. We leverage this knowledge to tune the lattice pattern via the control of injection flow rate and nozzle translation speed, thereby overcoming the limitations in structural versatility typically seen in existing fluid manipulations paradigms. We further demonstrate that these drop crystals have the ability to self-correct and propose a simple mechanism to describe the convergence toward a uniform pattern of drops.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberabq0828
JournalScience Advances
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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