Wettability Modification of Nanomaterials by Low-Energy Electron Flux
Department of Physical Electronics, School of Electrical Engineering, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, 69978, Israel
Nanoscale Research Letters 2009, 4:1209-1217 doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9380-0Published: 2 July 2009
Controllable modification of surface free energy and related properties (wettability, hygroscopicity, agglomeration, etc.) of powders allows both understanding of fine physical mechanism acting on nanoparticle surfaces and improvement of their key characteristics in a number of nanotechnology applications. In this work, we report on the method we developed for electron-induced surface energy and modification of basic, related properties of powders of quite different physical origins such as diamond and ZnO. The applied technique has afforded gradual tuning of the surface free energy, resulting in a wide range of wettability modulation. In ZnO nanomaterial, the wettability has been strongly modified, while for the diamond particles identical electron treatment leads to a weak variation of the same property. Detailed investigation into electron-modified wettability properties has been performed by the use of capillary rise method using a few probing liquids. Basic thermodynamic approaches have been applied to calculations of components of solid–liquid interaction energy. We show that defect-free, low-energy electron treatment technique strongly varies elementary interface interactions and may be used for the development of new technology in the field of nanomaterials.