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Langmuir. 2006 Mar 28;22(7):2966-7.

The "lotus effect" explained: two reasons why two length scales of topography are important.

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Polymer Science and Engineering Department, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA.


Surfaces containing 4 x 8 x 40 microm staggered rhombus posts were hydrophobized using two methods. One, using a dimethyldichlorosilane reaction in the vapor phase, introduces a smooth modified layer, and the other, a solution reaction using methyltrichlorosilane, imparts a second (nanoscopic) length scale of topography. The smooth modified surface exhibits contact angles of thetaA/thetaR = 176 degrees /156 degrees . Arguments are made that the pinning of the receding contact line by the post tops (with thetaA/thetaR = 104 degrees /103 degrees ) is responsible for the hysteresis. The second level of topography raises the contact angles of the post tops and the macroscopic sample to theta(A)/theta(R) = >176 degrees />176 degrees and eliminates hysteresis. The increase in Laplace pressure due to the increase in the advancing contact angle of the post tops is a second reason that two length scales of topography are important.

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