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Maze Solving Using Fatty Acid Chemistry

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2014
Author Suzuno Kohta , Ueyama Daishin, Branicki Michal, Tóth Rita, Braun Artur, Lagzi István ,
Project Reaction-diffusion processes for the growth of patterned structures and architectures: A bottom-up approach for photoelectrochemical electrodes
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Langmuir
Volume (Issue) 30(31)
Page(s) 9251 - 9255
Title of proceedings Langmuir
DOI DOI: 10.1021/la5018467

Open Access

Type of Open Access Website


This study demonstrates that the Marangoni flow in a channel network can solve maze problems such as exploring and visualizing the shortest path and finding all possible solutions in a parallel fashion. The Marangoni flow is generated by the pH gradient in a maze filled with an alkaline solution of a fatty acid by introducing a hydrogel block soaked with an acid at the exit. The pH gradient changes the protonation rate of fatty acid molecules, which translates into the surface tension gradient at the liquid–air interface through the maze. Fluid flow maintained by the surface tension gradient (Marangoni flow) can drag water-soluble dye particles toward low pH (exit) at the liquid–air interface. Dye particles placed at the entrance of the maze dissolve during this motion, thus exhibiting and finding the shortest path and all possible paths in a maze.