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Liquid-infused surfaces are a new class of functional materials with exceptional properties that have earned them a place at the forefront of many fields, including anti-biofouling and droplet manipulation. These properties mean they could potentially be used to improve medical devices, such as heart bypass machines.

The Heart Research Institute’s Cardiovascular Medical Devices Group, led by Dr Anna Waterhouse, focuses its research on understanding the interaction of medical devices with patients’ blood, proteins and cells.

“Despite the widespread use of medical devices in cardiovascular medicine, many side effects such as blood clots and biofouling, are promoted by the materials used to make these devices,” says Dr Waterhouse.

Our research aims to develop more sophisticated and compatible materials for medical devices, to reduce risks for patients. Liquid-infused surfaces are one potential way.”

Dr Waterhouse collaborates with Professor Chiara Neto, School of Chemistry, The University of Sydney to gain a deeper understanding of how material properties affect interactions with biological systems. Jun Ki Hong, a joint PhD student in the Waterhouse and Neto groups, recently published a review on liquid-infused surfaces with Sam Peppou Chapman from the Neto group and lead author of the paper.

The review examines the current state of the literature relating to the liquid layer in their fundamental design, preparation and characterisation. It also explores the biomedical factors for potential clinical translation and provides an outlook into where research centred on understanding the lubricant layer is heading in the new decade.

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