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Langmuir. 2006 Mar 14;22(6):2856-62.

Nanoporosity-driven superhydrophilicity: a means to create multifunctional antifogging coatings.

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  • 1Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Multifunctional nanoporous thin films have been fabricated from layer-by-layer assembled silica nanoparticles and a polycation. The resultant multilayer films were found to exhibit both antifogging and antireflection properties. The antifogging properties are a direct result of the development of superhydrophilic wetting characteristics (water droplet contact angle <5 degrees within 0.5 s or less). The nearly instantaneous sheetlike wetting promoted by the superhydrophilic multilayer prevents light scattering water droplets from forming on a surface. The low refractive index of the multilayer film (as low as 1.22) resulting from the presence of nanopores was found to impart excellent antireflection properties. Glass slides coated on both sides with a nanoporous multilayer film exhibited transmission levels as high as 99.8%. Stable superhydrophilic wetting characteristics were obtained only after a critical number of bilayers were deposited onto a surface. The assembly conditions (solution pH and nanoparticle concentration), as well as the choice of nanoparticle size, were found to strongly influence film properties. It is suggested that the superhydrophilic behavior is driven by the rapid infiltration of water into a 3D nanoporous network created under specific assembly conditions.

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