Omnidirectional Self-Assembly of Transparent Superoleophobic Nanotextures

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Journal Article
ACS Nano, 2017, 11 (1), pp. 587 - 596
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© 2016 American Chemical Society. Engineering surface textures that are highly transparent and repel water, oil, and other low surface energy fluids can transform our interaction with wet environments. Despite extensive progress, current top-down methods are based on directional line-of-sight fabrication mechanisms that are limited by scale and cannot be applied to highly uneven, curved, and enclosed surfaces, while bottom-up techniques often suffer from poor optical transparency. Here, we present an approach that enables the rapid, omnidirectional synthesis of flexible and up to 99.97% transparent superhydrophobic and -oleophobic textures on many variable surface types. These features are obtained by the spontaneous formation of a multi re-entrant morphology during the controlled self-assembly of nanoparticle aerosols. We also develop a mathematical model to explain and control the self-assembly dynamics, providing important insights for the rational engineering of functional materials. We envision that our findings represent a significant advance in imparting superoleophobicity and superamphiphobicity to a so-far inapplicable family of materials and geometries for multifunctional applications.
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