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. 2017 Jun;16(6):658-663.
doi: 10.1038/nmat4868. Epub 2017 Feb 27.

Antifogging Abilities of Model Nanotextures

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Antifogging Abilities of Model Nanotextures

Timothée Mouterde et al. Nat Mater. .

Abstract

Nanometre-scale features with special shapes impart a broad spectrum of unique properties to the surface of insects. These properties are essential for the animal's survival, and include the low light reflectance of moth eyes, the oil repellency of springtail carapaces and the ultra-adhesive nature of palmtree bugs. Antireflective mosquito eyes and cicada wings are also known to exhibit some antifogging and self-cleaning properties. In all cases, the combination of small feature size and optimal shape provides exceptional surface properties. In this work, we investigate the underlying antifogging mechanism in model materials designed to mimic natural systems, and explain the importance of the texture's feature size and shape. While exposure to fog strongly compromises the water-repellency of hydrophobic structures, this failure can be minimized by scaling the texture down to nanosize. This undesired effect even becomes non-measurable if the hydrophobic surface consists of nanocones, which generate antifogging efficiency close to unity and water departure of droplets smaller than 2 μm.

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