Advanced Materials Technologies 2019
Functional liquid metal nanoparticles (NPs), produced from eutectic alloys of gallium, promise new horizons in the fields of sensors, microfluidics, flexible electronics, catalysis, and biomedicine. Here, the development of a vapor cavity generating ultrasonic platform for nebulizing liquid metal within aqueous media for the one-step production of stable and functional liquid metal NPs is shown. The size distribution of the NPs is fully characterized and it is demonstrated that various macro and small molecules can also be grafted onto these liquid metal NPs during the liquid-based nebulization process. The cytotoxicity of the NPs grafted with different molecules is further explored. Moreover, it is shown that it is possible to control the thickness of the oxide layer on the produced NPs using electrochemistry that can be embedded within the platform. It is envisaged that this platform can be adapted as a cost-effective and versatile device for the rapid production of functional liquid metal NPs for future liquid metal-based optical, electronic, catalytic, and biomedical applications.