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Liquid marble interaction gate for collision-based computing

Draper, Thomas; Fullarton, Claire; de Lacy Costello, Ben; Phillips, Neil; Adamatzky, Andrew


Dr Thomas Draper
Research Fellow Biosensing/ Healthcare Technology

Claire Fullarton

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Dr Neil Phillips
Research Fellow in Fungal Analog Electronics


© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Liquid marbles are microliter droplets of liquid, encapsulated by self-organized hydrophobic particles at the liquid/air interface. They offer an efficient approach for manipulating liquid droplets and compartmentalizing reactions in droplets. Digital fluidic devices employing liquid marbles might benefit from having embedded computing circuits without electronics and moving mechanical parts (apart from the marbles). We present an experimental implementation of a collision gate with liquid marbles. Mechanics of the gate follows principles of Margolus’ soft-sphere collision gate. Boolean values of the inputs are given by the absence (FALSE) or presence (TRUE) of a liquid marble. There are three outputs: two outputs are trajectories of undisturbed marbles (they only report TRUE when just one marble is present at one of the inputs), one output is represented by trajectories of colliding marbles (when two marbles collide they lose their horizontal momentum and fall), this output reports TRUE only when two marbles are present at inputs. Thus the gate implements AND and AND-NOT logical functions. We speculate that by merging trajectories representing AND-NOT output into a single channel one can produce a one-bit half-adder. Potential design of a one-bit full-adder is discussed, and the synthesis of both a pure nickel metal and a hybrid nickel/polymer liquid marble is reported.


de Lacy Costello, B. P., Draper, T. C., Draper, T., Fullarton, C., Phillips, N., de Lacy Costello, B., & Adamatzky, A. (2017). Liquid marble interaction gate for collision-based computing. Materials Today, 20(10), 561-568.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 13, 2017
Publication Date Dec 1, 2017
Publicly Available Date Nov 14, 2018
Journal Materials Today
Print ISSN 1369-7021
Electronic ISSN 1873-4103
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 10
Pages 561-568
Keywords liquid marble, unconventional computing, collision computing, adder, logic gate, microfluidic
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