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Facile fabrication of super-hydrophobic nano-needle arrays via breath figures method

Jiseok Kim, Brian Lew and Woo Soo Kim*

Author Affiliations

Mechatronic Systems Engineering, School of Engineering Science, Simon Fraser University, 250-13450 102nd Avenue, Surrey, BC V3T 0A3, Canada

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:616  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-616

Published: 6 December 2011


Super-hydrophobic surfaces which have been fabricated by various methods such as photolithography, chemical treatment, self-assembly, and imprinting have gained enormous attention in recent years. Especially 2D arrays of nano-needles have been shown to have super-hydrophobicity due to their sharp surface roughness. These arrays can be easily generated by removing the top portion of the honeycomb films prepared by the breath figures method. The hydrophilic block of an amphiphilic polymer helps in the fabrication of the nano-needle arrays through the production of well-ordered honeycomb films and good adhesion of the film to a substrate. Anisotropic patterns with water wettability difference can be useful for patterning cells and other materials using their selective growth on the hydrophilic part of the pattern. However, there has not been a simple way to generate patterns with highly different wettability. Mechanical stamping of the nano-needle array with a polyurethane stamp might be the simplest way to fabricate patterns with wettability difference. In this study, super-hydrophobic nano-needle arrays were simply fabricated by removing the top portion of the honeycomb films. The maximum water contact angle obtained with the nano-needle array was 150°. By controlling the pore size and the density of the honeycomb films, the height, width, and density of nano-needle arrays were determined. Anisotropic patterns with different wettability were fabricated by simply pressing the nano-needle array at ambient temperature with polyurethane stamps which were flexible but tough. Mechanical stamping of nano-needle arrays with micron patterns produced hierarchical super-hydrophobic structures.

PACS: 05.70.Np, 68.55.am, 68.55.jm

super-hydrophobic; nano-needle; honeycomb; anisotropic pattern