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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2011 Nov 1;363(1):51-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2011.07.015. Epub 2011 Jul 23.

Enhanced super-hydrophobic and switching behavior of ZnO nanostructured surfaces prepared by simple solution--immersion successive ionic layer adsorption and reaction process.

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Thin Film and Nanomaterials Laboratory, Department of Physics, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore 641 046, India.


A simple and cost-effective successive ionic layer adsorption and reaction (SILAR) method was adopted to fabricate hydrophobic ZnO nanostructured surfaces on transparent indium-tin oxide (ITO), glass and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrates. ZnO films deposited on different substrates show hierarchical structures like spindle, flower and spherical shape with diameters ranging from 30 to 300 nm. The photo-induced switching behaviors of ZnO film surfaces between hydrophobic and hydrophilic states were examined by water contact angle and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis. ZnO nanostructured films had contact angles of ~140° and 160°±2 on glass and PET substrates, respectively, exhibiting hydrophobic behavior without any surface modification or treatment. Upon exposure to ultraviolet (UV) illumination, the films showed hydrophilic behavior (contact angle: 15°±2), which upon low thermal stimuli revert back to its original hydrophobic nature. Such reversible and repeatable switching behaviors were observed upon cyclical exposure to ultraviolet radiation. These biomimetic ZnO surfaces exhibit good anti-reflective properties with lower reflectance of 9% for PET substrates. Thus, the present work is significant in terms of its potential application in switching devices, solar coatings and self-cleaning smart windows.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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