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Langmuir. 2017 Nov 28;33(47):13640-13648. doi: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.7b03014. Epub 2017 Nov 14.

Salvinia-Effect-Inspired "Sticky" Superhydrophobic Surfaces by Meniscus-Confined Electrodeposition.

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Institute of Robotics and Automatic Information System &Tianjin Key Laboratory of Intelligent Robotics, Nankai University , Tianjin 300071, People's Republic of China.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology , Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, United States.


Inspired by the Salvinia effect, we report the fabrication and characterization of a novel "sticky" superhydrophobic surface sustaining a Cassie-Baxter wetting state for water droplets with high contact angles but strong solid-liquid retention. Unlike superhydrophobic surfaces mimicking the lotus or petal effect, whose hydrophobicity and droplet retention are typically regulated by hierarchical micro- and nanostructures made of a homogeneous material with the same surface energy, our superhydrophobic surface merely requires singular microstructures covered with a hydrophobic coating but creatively coupled with hydrophilic tips with different surface energy. Hydrophilic tips are selectively formed by meniscus-confined electrodeposition of a metal (e.g., nickel) layer on top of hydrophobic microstructures. During the electrodeposition process, the superhydrophobic surface retains its plastron so that the electrolyte cannot penetrate into the cavity of hydrophobic microstructures, consequently making the electrochemical reaction between solid and electrolyte occur only on the tip. In contrast to typical superhydrophobic surfaces where droplets are highly mobile, the "sticky" superhydrophobic surface allows a water droplet to have strong local pinning and solid-liquid retention on the hydrophilic tips, which is of great significance in many droplet behaviors such as evaporation.

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