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Facile synthesis of superhydrophobic surface of ZnO nanoflakes: chemical coating and UV-induced wettability conversion

Lujun Yao1, Maojun Zheng1*, Changli Li1, Li Ma2 and Wenzhong Shen1

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Condensed Matter Spectroscopy and Opto-Electronic Physics, and Key laboratory of Artificial Structures and Quantum Control (Ministry of Education), Department of Physics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, People's Republic of China

2 School of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, People's Republic of China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:216  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-216

Published: 13 April 2012


This work reports an oriented growth process of two-dimensional (2D) ZnO nanoflakes on aluminum substrate through a low temperature hydrothermal technique and proposes the preliminary growth mechanism. A bionic superhydrophobic surface with excellent corrosion protection over a wide pH range in both acidic and alkaline solutions was constructed by a chemical coating treatment with stearic acid (SA) molecules on ZnO nanoflakes. It is found that the superhydrophobic surface of ZnO nanoflake arrays shows a maximum water contact angle (CA) of 157° and a low sliding angle of 8°, and it can be reversibly switched to its initial superhydrophilic state under ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, which is due to the UV-induced decomposition of the coated SA molecules. This study is significant for simple and inexpensive building of large-scale 2D ZnO nanoflake arrays with special wettability which can extend the applications of ZnO films to many other important fields.

ZnO nanoflakes; Chemical coating; Superhydrophobic; Corrosion protection; UV irradiation