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    Plants transport water from roots to leaves via xylem through transpiration, which is an evaporation process that occurs at the leaves. During transpiration, suction pressure is generated by the porous structure of mesophyll cells in the leaves. Here, we fabricate artificial leaf consisting of micro and nano hierarchy structures similar to the mesophyll cells and veins of a leaf using cryo-gel method. We show that the microchannels in agarose gel greatly decrease the flow resistance in dye diffusion and permeability experiments. Capillary tube and silicone oil are used for measuring the suction pressure of the artificial leaf. We maintain low humidity (20%) condition for measuring suction pressure that is limited by Laplace pressure, which is smaller than the water potential of air followed by the Kelvin-Laplace relation. Suction pressure of the artificial leaf is maximized by changing physical conditions, e.g., pore size, wettability of the structure. We change the agarose gel's concentration to decrease the pore size down to 200 nm and add the titanium nano particles to increase the wettability by changing contact angle from 63.6° to 49.4°. As a result, the measured suction pressure of the artificial leaf can be as large as 7.9 kPa.


    Minki Lee, Hosub Lim, Jinkee Lee. Fabrication of Artificial Leaf to Develop Fluid Pump Driven by Surface Tension and Evaporation. Scientific reports. 2017 Nov 07;7(1):14735

    PMID: 29116152

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