Schematic of experimental setup: transpiration of water from a synthetic leaf outfitted with stomata floating atop a water reservoir.
Two different mechanisms for achieving stable transpiration of water in synthetic trees were revealed. The new system was stable at low humidity where past synthetic trees dried out.
Significance and Impact
Synthetic trees are useful as passive pumps, but can dry out at low humidity. We avoid dry-out by designing vapor-trapping synthetic leaves.
– Vapor-trapping synthetic stomata were inspired by mangroves, which are renowned for their highly negative water pressures and excellent stability even in rugged conditions.
– To mimic a natural leaf, the microfabricated stomata were placed atop a nanoporous ceramic disk exhibiting an average pore radius of 80 nm.
W. Shi, J. R. Vieitez, A. S. Berrier, M. W. Roseveare, D. A. Surinach, B R. Srijanto, C. Patrick Collier, J. B. Boreyko, "Self-Stabilizing Transpiration in Synthetic Leaves," ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces11,13768 (2019). DOI: 10.1021/acsami.9b00041