Sorting Droplets by Surface Tension: Devices and Methods


Available for Licensing
TRL: 7

IP Status

US Utility Patent: US 9823174
Nationalized PCT Pending: IN 2018/27022671 


Arun Kota
Sanil Movafaghi

At A Glance

Researches at Colorado State University have developed an optimized superomniphobic surface to detect the composition of a liquid blend via the liquid surface tension of its droplets.  Because superomniphobic surfaces are repellant to virtually any liquid, this surface is able to “sort” liquid droplets based on their mobility.  Due to the composition of the droplet, the surface tension is altered – or the overall ability of the droplet to move across the surface.  This portable, low-cost, power-free sensor can rapidly detect compositions of liquid blends, simply by dropping the liquid onto the sensor, and viewing the drops ability to move across the surface. The surface chemistry of the sensor can be tuned systematically to sort droplets based on their surface tension, to numerous applications.


Licensing Director

Tech Mgr: TBD

Reference No.: 16-040


Some countries of Asia (Ex:  India) and Africa (Ex:  Nigeria) subsidize kerosene for the local population for cooking, heating, etc. As a result, kerosene has been mixed into other fuels such as gasoline and diesel. Conventional detection technologies are time consuming, expensive, and require large amounts of fuel sample.


  • Inexpensive – Fabricated easily in a short time
  • Efficient – No need for external energy input
  • Reusable – each device can be used at least up to 25 times
  • Uncomplicated – No training needed to use the device
  • Detection of adulterations (such as kerosene) in diesel or gasoline samples 
  • Can be expanded to similar uses in other industries

Last updated: May 2020