Organically modified silica nanostructures based functional coatings for practical applications

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Bilkent University
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In the past decades, the fabrication of superhydrophobic surfaces have received considerable attention due to the variety of potential applications ranging from biology to industry. Although significant progress has been made in their fabrication and design, there is still need to solve some problems in real-life use of these coatings, such as low stability against external pressure, lack of long term robustness, challenges in presice control over the degree of wettability and the need for facile fabrication methods. In this context, this thesis seeks simple solutions for mentioned problems based on organically modified silica superhyrophobic coatings. First, we investigate the stability of the Cassie state of wetting in transparent superhydrophobic coatings by comparing a single-layer micro-porous coating with a double-layer micro/nanoporous coating. The stability of the Cassie state in coatings were investigated with droplet compression and evaporation experiments, where external pressures as high as a few thousand Pa are generated at the interface. A droplet on a microporous coating gradually transformed to the Wenzel state with increasing pressure. The resistance of the micro/nano-porous surfaces against Wenzel transition during the experiments were higher than microporous single-layer coating and even higher than leaves of Lotus; prevalent natural superhydrophobic surface. Then, we reported a facile method for the preparation hydrophilic patterns on the superhydrophobic ormosil surfaces. On the defined areas of the superhydrophobic ormosil coatings, wetted micropatterns were produced using Ultraviolet/Ozone (UV/O) treatment which modifies the surface chemistry from hydrophobic to hydrophilic without changing the surface morphology. The degree of wettability of the patterns can be precisely controlled depending on the UV/O exposure duration and extremely wetted spots with water contact angle (WCA) of nearly 0º can be obtained. The ormosil coatings and modified surfaces preserve their wettability for months at room conditions. Furthermore, we demonstrated selective and controlled adsorption of protein and adhesion of bacteria on the superhydrophilic patterns which could be potentially used for biological applications.

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Superhydrophobic, Cassie state stability, Self-cleaning, Wettability, Droplet evaporation, Organically modified silica, Superhydrophilic, UV/O treatment, Controlled wetting, Biomolecular adsorption, Cell pattern
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