Polyphenol-Induced Adhesive Liquid Metal Inks for Substrate-Independent Direct Pen Writing

Md Arifur Rahim, Franco Centurion, Jialuo Han, Roozbeh Abbasi, Mohannad Mayyas, Jing Sun, Michael J. Christoe, Dorna Esrafilzadeh, Francois Marie Allioux, Mohammad B. Ghasemian, Jiong Yang, Jianbo Tang, Torben Daeneke, Srinivas Mettu, Jin Zhang, Md Hemayet Uddin, Rouhollah Jalili, Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Surface patterning of liquid metals (LMs) is a key processing step for LM-based functional systems. Current patterning methods are substrate specific and largely suffer from undesired imperfections—restricting their widespread applications. Inspired by the universal catechol adhesion chemistry observed in nature, LM inks stabilized by the assembly of a naturally abundant polyphenol, tannic acid, has been developed. The intrinsic adhesive properties of tannic acid containing multiple catechol/gallol groups, allow the inks to be applied to a variety of substrates ranging from flexible to rigid, metallic to plastics and flat to curved, even using a ballpoint pen. This method can be further extended from hand-written texts to complex conductive patterns using an automated setup. In addition, capacitive touch and hazardous heavy metal ion sensors have been patterned, leveraging from the synergistic combination of polyphenols and LMs. Overall, this strategy provides a unique platform to manipulate LMs from hand-written pattern to complex designs onto the substrate of choice, that has remained challenging to achieve otherwise.

Original languageBritish English
Article number2007336
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number10
StatePublished - 3 Mar 2021


  • assembly
  • direct writing
  • inks
  • liquid metals
  • natural polyphenols
  • universal adhesion


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