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Single Pass Laser Process for Super-Hydrophobic Flexible Surfaces with Micro/Nano Hierarchical Structures.


Wetting has been studied in various fields: chemical industry, automobile manufacturing, food companies, and even life sciences. In these studies, super-hydrophobic surfaces have been achieved through complex steps and processes. To realize super-hydrophobicity, however, we demonstrated a simple and single pass laser process for the fabrication of micro/nano hierarchical structures on the flexible polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, Teflon) surface. The fabricated hierarchical structures helped increase the hydrophobicity by augmenting the surface roughness and promoting air-trapping. In addition, we employed a low-cost and high-throughput replication process producing numerous polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) replicas from the laser-processed PTFE film. Thanks to the anti-adhesive characteristics of PTFE and the elasticity of PDMS, the structure perfectly transferred to the replica without any mechanical failure. Moreover, our designed mesh patterns offered the possibility of large area applications through varying the process parameters (pitch, beam spot size, laser fluence, and scan speed). Even though mesh patterns had relatively large pitch (190 μm), we were able to achieve high contact angle (>150°). Through pneumatically deformed structure, we clearly showed that the shape of the droplets on our laser-processed super-hydrophobic surface was spherical. Based on these outcomes, we can expect our single laser pulse exposure process can overcome many drawbacks and offer opportunities for advancing applications of the wetting phenomena.

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