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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2019 Feb 20;11(7):7553-7558. doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b19868. Epub 2019 Feb 7.

Microdrop-Assisted Microdomain Hydrophilicization of Superhydrophobic Surfaces for High-Efficiency Nucleation and Self-Removal of Condensate Microdrops.

Xing D1,2, Wu F2, Wang R2, Zhu J2, Gao X1,2.

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School of Nano Technology and Nano Bionics , University of Science and Technology of China , Hefei 230026 , P. R. China.
Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nano-Bionics , Chinese Academy of Sciences , Suzhou 215123 , P. R. China.


Superhydrophobic-hydrophilic hybrid surfaces have attracted intensive interest because of their significant academic and commercial values. However, almost all reported microdomain hydrophilicization methods rely on costly micropatterning techniques that need special instruments. Here, we report a microdrop-assisted method for microdomain hydrophilicization of a low-adhesive superhydrophobic surface and demonstrate its utility in high-efficiency nucleation and self-removal of condensate microdrops. Micrometer-sized fogdrops containing polyvinyl alcohol molecules can be selectively captured by breath figures of superhydrophobic surfaces with specific sizes and spatial distributions and can be converted into desired hydrophilic microdomains after thermal evaporation. After exploring the influence of hydrophilic microdomains' distributions and sizes to surface wettability, adhesion, and condensation dynamics, we achieved an optimal hybrid surface, which possesses 240% average microdrop density, 387% microdrop self-removal rate, and 75% average microdrop diameter as compared to the contrast superhydrophobic surface with uniform chemistry nature. This method is dispensed with special equipment, easy to implement, very cheap, and eco-friendly, which would help develop other superhydrophobic-hydrophilic hybrid surfaces with different functions such as water harvesting, dehumidification, and heat exchange.


breath figure; condensate microdrop self-removal; high-efficiency nucleation; microdomain hydrophilicization; superhydrophobic surface


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