Modulation of surface wettability of superhydrophobic substrates using Si nanowire arrays and capillary-force-induced nanocohesion

M.K. Dawood, H. Zheng, N.A. Kurniawan, K.C. Leong, Y.L. Foo, Raj Rajagopalan, S.A. Khan, W.K. Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


We describe a new scalable method to fabricate large-area hybrid superhydrophobic surfaces with selective adhesion properties on silicon (Si) nanowire array substrates by exploiting liquid-medium-dependent capillary-force-induced nanocohesion. Gold (Au) nanoparticles were deposited on Si by glancing angle deposition followed by metal-assisted chemical etching of Si to form Si nanowire arrays. The surfaces were dried in either deionized (DI) water, 2-propanol or methanol to vary the capillary forces exerted on the Si nanowires during the drying process in order to tune the extent of clustering of nanowires and hence the adhesion properties of the resulting superhydrophobic surfaces. Here, we exploit the combined effects of surface tension and Young's contact angle to modulate the degree of clustering of the Si nanowires during capillary-force-induced nanocohesion. These surfaces were chemically modified and rendered hydrophobic by fluorosilane deposition. Drying in DI water resulted in small clusters of nanowires which produce a low-hysteresis superhydrophobic surface that mimics a lotus leaf. Drying in methanol resulted in large nanowire clusters that lead to a high-hysteresis superhydrophobic surface. Further, we demonstrate the ability to fabricate both small and large nanowire clusters by controlling the drying of the nanowire arrays in order to selectively define and modulate adhesion of water on the same superhydrophobic substrate. The simplicity of our process to tune surface wettability on single substrates paves the way for future applications in lab-on-chip devices and platforms for chemical and biological analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3549-3557
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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