Dr. Chin Hong Ooi is a ARC DECRA research fellow in the Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre (QMNC), Griffith University.  He specialises in the manipulation and the various bio-chemical applications of liquid marbles. He obtained his PhD in 2017 under the supervision of Professor Nam-Trung Nguyen and Dr Dzung Dao in QMNC. He received the Academic Excellence award for his thesis titled "Manipulation of floating liquid marbles". Chin Hong undertook his Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University as an ASEAN scholar. His academic prowess earned him a place on the Dean's List as well as the Undergraduate Research Experience programme. 

Chin Hong's research interests include liquid marble manipulation and biological applications; digital microfluidics; 3D design and fabrication of microfluidic devices and colloid and interface physics. His research has been published in prestigious journals such as Scientific Reports, Langmuir, Lab on a Chip and Soft Matter.

Chin Hong has been a recipient of a Griffith University International Postgraduate Research Scholarship and a Griffith University Publication Assistance Scholarship for excellent higher degree research candidates. His prolific communication skills bridged the scientific community and the public as he was one of the finalists in the Fresh Science competition. His industrial experience include being a process engineer at Micron Semiconductor Asia in Singapore, where he coordinated the implementation of state-of-the-art wafer dicing technologies.

What is a liquid marble?

A liquid marble is essentially a small liquid droplet coated with hydrophobic powder. The marble has a size similar to that of a pin head (~1 mm in diameter) and has some curious properties. A liquid marble bounces around like a soft solid without wetting it, much like a water droplet on a lotus leaf. With the zero-wetting property, the liquid marble can be transported without any payload loss, thus making it an ultra-efficient liquid delivery tool. Click on video above to see a liquid marble in slow motion.

Moreover, a liquid marble can even float on liquid surfaces thanks to its coating. A combination of surface tension and buoyancy forces help keep the liquid marble floating, much like a metal paper clip on an undisturbed water surface. Due to its small footprint, the liquid marble can slide across the water surface with little resistance.

Side view of a 20 µL liquid marble floating on water.


Apart from a host of fascinating physics, the tiny liquid marble has big potential real-world applications. Imagine a miniature bio-lab which fits onto your fingertips and is capable of growing cells with three-dimensional structures as well as a wide range of chemical reactions. Such versatility has been exploited to grow nerve cells, stem cells and tumour cells. The liquid marble is currently being developed to be an invaluable tool in the biomedical researcher's inventory to aid drug discovery efforts.