Nanopatterned surfaces for controlling interfacial wetting and self-assembly of soft matter.
Abstract :Understanding the behavior of soft matter (liquids, polymers) at solid surfaces is relevant to several applications, including energy production and conversion, and the design of “smart materials” with self-cleaning, anti-icing and enhanced heat transfer properties. In this talk we illustrate recent advances in manipulating interfacial topography and chemistry of solid surfaces at the nanoscale for controlling wetting, adhesion, and phase transitions of soft materials. Specific examples include i) chemically nanopatterned surfaces for directing wetting and self-assembly of liquid and polymer thin films and ii) topographically nanopatterned surfaces for enabling superhydrophobic coatings with enhanced resistance to water infiltration. Further, we leverage state-of-the art experimental methods – including in situ Atomic Force Microscopy and X-ray scattering – to study how wetting and liquid-gas exchange properties are modified by geometry and confinement effect at the nanoscale.