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Nanoscale chemistry allows microfluidics without channels and troughs

 However, as it turned out in subsequent research, drops of water are notoriously difficult to move from where they lie, unless they are large enough to be moved by gravity, as happens with rain drops on window panes. For instance, two research reports ("Macroscopic transport by synthetic molecular machines" and "Light-Driven Motion of Liquids on a Photoresponsive Surface"), showed that water was one of the fluids where drops stubbornly refused to cooperate and move when cleverly engineered surfaces were activated to produce motion of fluidic droplets. In the absence of a microtube or of a channel – as they are required by most microfluidic devices – it usually is not possible to apply the pressure needed to induce liquid movement.

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