Superhydrophobic coatings repel liquids by trapping air inside microscopic surface textures. However, the resulting composite interface is prone to collapse under external pressure. Nanometer-size textures should facilitate more resilient coatings owing to geometry and confinement effects at the nanoscale. Here, we use in situ x-ray diffraction to study the collapse of the superhydrophobic state in arrays of approximate to 20 nm-wide silicon textures with cylindrical, conical, and linear features defined by block-copolymer self-assembly and plasma etching. We reveal that the superhydrophobic state vanishes above critical pressures which depend on texture shape and size. This phenomenon is irreversible for all but the conical surface textures which exhibit a spontaneous, partial reappearance of the trapped gas phase upon liquid depressurization. This process is influenced by the kinetics of gas-liquid exchange.
Collapse and Reversibility of the Superhydrophobic State on Nanotextured Surfaces / Antonio, Checco; Benjamin M., Ocko; Atikur, Rahman; Charles T., Black; Mykola, Tasinkevych; Giacomello, Alberto; Siegfried, Dietrich. - In: PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS. - ISSN 0031-9007. - 112:21(2014), p. 216101. [10.1103/physrevlett.112.216101]