Water runs uphill in mysterious silicon etching

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Bet you weren’t expecting that headline tonight, were you? Well, it’s about as literal as I could get. Some enterprising boffins at the University of Rochester used a high-powered laser to etch microscopic patterns in silicon such that water overcomes its own hydrophilia and goes in whatever direction they please. This is very much still a laboratory discovery, but a few years down the road, you might see this kind of thing built into chips as a sort of hybrid active-passive cooling solution.

The issue I see with it is this, though: the water is drawn to the pattern on the silicon, right? More so than to itself. So once it reaches the silicon, what will pull it away? It seems like water would simply coat the silicon in a single-molecule layer, and then the rest of the water would roll downhill as normal. But hey, who the hell am I?

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