Liquid metals: fundamentals and applications in chemistry
Post-transition elements, together with zinc-group metals and their alloys belong to an emerging class of materials with fascinating characteristics originating from their simultaneous metallic and liquid natures. These metals and alloys are characterised by having low melting points (i.e. between room temperature and 300 °C), making their liquid state accessible to practical applications in various fields of physical chemistry and synthesis. These materials can offer extraordinary capabilities in the synthesis of new materials, catalysis and can also enable novel applications including microfluidics, flexible electronics and drug delivery. However, surprisingly liquid metals have been somewhat neglected by the wider research community. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of the fundamentals underlying liquid metal research, including liquid metal synthesis, surface functionalisation and liquid metal enabled chemistry. Furthermore, we discuss phenomena that warrant further investigations in relevant fields and outline how liquid metals can contribute to exciting future applications.