Research Article


2013, 6(10): 726–735


Robust superhydrophobicity of hierarchical ZnO hollow microspheres fabricated by two-step self-assembly

Ziqi Sun1, Ting Liao2, Kesong Liu3 (), Lei Jiang4, Jung Ho Kim1 (), and Shi Xue Dou1

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1 Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials, University of Wollongong, Innovation Campus, North Wollongong, NSW 2500, Australia
2 Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
3 Key Laboratory of Bio-inspired Smart Interfacial Science and Technology of Ministry of Education, School of Chemistry and Environment, Beihang University, Beijing 100191, China
4 Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, Key Laboratory of Organic Solids, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China

Keywords: ZnO, hierarchical structure, two-step self-assembly, nanomaterials, robust superhydrophobicity
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  • Abstract
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Superhydrophobic and superhydrophilic surfaces have been extensively investigated due to their importance for industrial applications. It has been reported, however, that superhydrophobic surfaces are very sensitive to heat, ultraviolet (UV) light, and electric potential, which interfere with their long-term durability. In this study, we introduce a novel approach to achieve robust superhydrophobic thin films by designing architecture-defined complex nanostructures. A family of ZnO hollow microspheres with controlled constituent architectures in the morphologies of 1D nanowire networks, 2D nanosheet stacks, and 3D mesoporous nanoball blocks, respectively, was synthesized via a two-step self-assembly approach, where the oligomers or the constituent nanostructures with specially designed structures are first formed from surfactant templates, and then further assembled into complex morphologies by the addition of a second co-surfactant. The thin films composed of two-step synthesized ZnO hollow microspheres with different architectures presented superhydrophobicities with contact angles of 150°–155°, superior to the contact angle of 103° for one-step synthesized ZnO hollow microspheres with smooth and solid surfaces. Moreover, the robust superhydrophobicity was further improved by perfluorinated silane surface modification. The perfluorinated silane treated ZnO hollow microsphere thin films maintained excellent hydrophobicity even after 75 h of UV irradiation. The realization of environmentally durable superhydrophobic surfaces provides a promising solution for their long-term service under UV or strong solar light irradiations.
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Robust superhydrophobicity of hierarchical ZnO hollow microspheres fabricated by two-step self-assembly. Nano Res. 2013, 6(10): 726–735

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