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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 Self-organization processes to pattern thin films: A bottom-up approach for photoelectrodes
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Langmuir
Volume (Issue) 30(31)
Page(s) 9251 - 9255
Title of proceedings Langmuir
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. © 2014 American Chemical Society.