A Beautiful Feast for Eyes as Droplets Dance in Pairs – Peek in to know how


In the silence too,

Dance fills us in true,

We dance in pairs,

On a glass slide.

It was in the year 2009 when then an undergraduate student, Cira, caught the two different colours of droplets dancing together. The research was regarding the food colour, but the microscope captured the dance of the colour droplets.

Also, it wasn’t a random dance; it was a well-synchronised dance of the different coloured droplets. They observed that water alone wasn’t a good dancer, or was the water shy to dance alone? But, when adding another fluid, making it a binary liquid or two compound fluids, the dance began. The food colours might have added the music to the dance, as it had a striking effect on the dance.

Who taught the dance to droplets?

The evaporation made the droplets dance! 

When the graduate student Cira was surprised, Cira, Manu Prakash and Adrien Benusiglio from stanford university researched the reason.

They found that a liquid that evaporates faster and has a higher surface tension would pull the other droplets toward it in an inward direction. The evaporation is the signal to begin their dance. And the surface tension pulls them in that direction.

The synchronised but unguided dance

The movements with the droplets are synchronised, but the movement on the slide is unguided and moves randomly. It was found that the lines from a permanent marker guided their movement.

Chemotaxis – the dance of molecules in the body

The dance is similar to chemotaxis, or the movement of cells or molecules based on a chemical’s signal or gradient, which is how the bacteria in the body are attacked. The dance of the water molecules mimics this chemotaxis.

This concept of chemotaxis and the dancing droplets could be combined to create real-life applications. But the research on this topic was done for the beauty of dance than to find an application the researchers had stated.


  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/03/12/the-beautiful-science-that-explains-why-liquid-droplets-dance-with-each-other/ 
  2. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/2-common-liquids-spontaneously-form-dancing-droplets-video/
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