Self-assembly of gears at a fluid/air interface

Jessamine M.K. Ng, Michael J. Fuerstman, Bartosz A. Grzybowski, Howard A. Stone, George M. Whitesides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This paper describes a dynamic system - a system that develops order only when dissipating energy - comprising millimeter to centimeter scale gears that self-assemble into a simple machine at a fluid/air interface. The gears are driven externally and indirectly by magnetic interactions; they are made of poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) or magnetically doped PDMS, and fabricated by soft lithography. Transfer of torque between gears can take place through three different mechanisms: mechanical interaction, hydrodynamic shear, and capillarity/overlap of menisci. Interplay between these forces allows interactions and motions that are not possible with conventional systems of gears.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7948-7958
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jul 2 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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