A new method to fabricate superhydrophobic hard films is described. Surface texture of lotus leaf was replicated on an acetate film, on which a nanocrystalline (NC) Ni coating with a grain size of 30 ± 4 nm and a hardness of 4.42 GPa was electrodeposited. The surface texture consisted of conical protuberances with a height of 10.0 ± 2.0 0m and a tip radius of 2.5 ± 0.5 0m. An additional electrodeposition for 120 s and 300 s was used to locally modify the surface structure by depositing ‘Ni crowns’ on the protuberances that increased their height to 14.0 ± 2.0 0m and their tip radius to 6.0 ± 0.5 0m. The modified structures were then treated with a perfluoropolyether (PFPE) solution, which provided a high water contact angle of 156°, i.e., comparable to the naturally superhydrophobic lotus leaf. The increased hydrophobicity as a result of surface structure and chemistry modifications was evident compared to a smooth NC Ni sample, which had a contact angle of 64°.
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Shafiei, M., Ahmet, T.A. Superhydrophobic Nanocrystalline Nickel Films Inspired by Lotus Leaf. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1132, 11320717 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-1132-Z07-17