Researchers have demonstrated a simple, cheap way to create self-assembling electronic devices using a property crucial to salad dressings. It uses the fact that oil- and water-based liquids do not mix, forming devices from components that align along the boundary between the two.
The idea joins a raft of approaches toward self-assembly, but lends itself particularly well to small components. The work is reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Crucially, it could allow the large-scale assembly of high-quality electronic components on materials of just about any type, in contrast to "inkjet printed" electronics or some previous self-assembly techniques.