Conventional electrochemical anodizing processes of metals such as aluminum typically produce planar and homogeneous nanopore structures. If hydrophobically treated, such 2D planar and interconnected pore structures typically result in lower contact angle and larger contact angle hysteresis than 3D disconnected pillar structures and, hence, exhibit inferior superhydrophobic efficiency. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that the anodizing parameters can be engineered to design novel pillar-on-pore (POP) hybrid nanostructures directly in a simple one-step fabrication process so that superior surface superhydrophobicity can also be realized effectively from the electrochemical anodization process. On the basis of the characteristic of forming a self-ordered porous morphology in a hexagonal array, the modulation of anodizing voltage and duration enabled the formulation of the hybrid-type nanostructures having controlled pillar morphology on top of a porous layer in both mild and hard anodization modes. The hybrid nanostructures of the anodized metal oxide layer initially enhanced the surface hydrophilicity significantly (i.e., superhydrophilic). However, after a hydrophobic monolayer coating, such hybrid nanostructures then showed superior superhydrophobic nonwetting properties not attainable by the plain nanoporous surfaces produced by conventional anodization conditions. The well-regulated anodization process suggests that electrochemical anodizing can expand its usefulness and efficacy to render various metallic substrates with great superhydrophilicity or -hydrophobicity by directly realizing pillar-like structures on top of a self-ordered nanoporous array through a simple one-step fabrication procedure.
Jeong, C., C.-H. Choi
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces