Droplet Instruments

Advanced characterization of surfaces

We offer state-of-the-art technologies, custom services and scientific consulting for your surface characterization needs. We are searching for customers, partners and investors.
Interested? Please contact us at droplet-instruments@aalto.fi.

Scanning Droplet Adhesion Microscope

Submillimeter mapping of surface wettability with unprecedented force sensitivity.

Scanning Droplet Tribometer

Rapid mapping of surface characteristics by magnetic droplet scanning.


Read about our recent achievements in wetting research.

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Droplet Instruments can facilitate:

  • early detection of surface degradation and contamination
  • optimization of coating adhesion
  • understanding the effect of roughness on wetting properties
  • studying ink adhesion to improve printing quality
  • and more

We are a multidisciplinary team with unique expertise in soft matter (Prof. Robin Ras) and robotic instruments (Prof. Quan Zhou) working on the development of the most precise and accurate measurement techniques for surface characterization.

With a decade of academic experience in developing high-end hydrophobic surfaces for real-life applications we know the difficulties in reliable and efficient surface wetting characterization. [1-3] As such, we have developed innovative instruments for faster and more accurate measurement of liquid-solid interactions.

Novel instruments

Scanning Droplet Adhesion Microscope

Extremely sensitive instrument for characterization of hydrophobic surfaces. It allows direct force measurements from hundreds of micronewton down to nanonewton range, and can map spatial variation of wetting down to micrometer resolution, for analysis of various wetting phenomena. [4-6]
We provide Scanning Droplet Adhesion Microscope as a measuring service and offer joint development of custom measuring systems with the customer.

Scanning Droplet Tribometer

Rapid measurement of hydrophobic surface characteristics, such as wetting properties, coating homogeneity and contamination. Scanning with the magnetic droplet allows mapping uniformity of wetting across the sample surface, even inside tubes and other closed systems.
We offer Scanning Droplet Tribometer as a measuring service for surface characterization.



  1. Liu K., Vuckovac M., Latikka M., Huhtamäki T., Ras R.H.A.,
    Improving surface-wetting characterization,
    Science 363, 1147−1148 (2019). (link) (press release)
  2. Vuckovac M., Latikka M., Liu K., Huhtamäki T., Ras R.H.A.,
    Uncertainties in Contact Angle Goniometry,
    Soft Matter 15 7089-7096 (2019). (link)
  3. Tian X., Verho T., Ras R.H.A.,
    Moving superhydrophobic surfaces toward real-world applications,
    Science 352, 142-143 (2016). (link)
  4. Liimatainen V., Vuckovac M., Jokinen V., Sariola V., Hokkanen M., Zhou Q., Ras R.H.A.,
    Mapping microscale wetting variations on biological and synthetic water-repellent surfaces,
    Nature Communications 8, 1798 (2017). (link)
  5. Dong Z., Schumann M.F., Hokkanen M.J., Chang B., Welle A., Zhou Q., Ras R.H.A., Xu Z., Wegener M., Levkin P.A.,
    Superoleophobic Slippery Lubricant-Infused Surface: Combining two Extremes in the same Surface,
    Advanced Materials 30, 1803890 (2018). (link)
  6. Wang D., Sun Q., Hokkanen M.J., Zhang C., Lin F.-Y., Liu Q., Zhu S.-P., Zhou T., Chang Q., He B., Zhou Q., Chen L., Wang Z., Ras R.H.A., Deng X.,  
    Design of Robust Superhydrophobic Surfaces,
    Nature 582, 55–59 (2020). (link)
  7. Hokkanen M.J., Backholm M., Vuckovac M., Zhou Q., Ras R.H.A.,
    Force-based Wetting Characterization of Stochastic Superhydrophobic Coatings at Nanonewton Sensitivity,
    Advanced Materials (2021). (link)