Omniphobic liquid-like surfaces

Nat Rev Chem. 2023 Feb;7(2):123-137. doi: 10.1038/s41570-022-00455-w. Epub 2023 Jan 9.


Liquid-repellent surfaces, especially smooth solid surfaces with covalently grafted flexible polymer brushes or alkyl monolayers, are the focus of an expanding research area. Surface-tethered flexible species are highly mobile at room temperature, giving solid surfaces a unique liquid-like quality and unprecedented dynamical repellency towards various liquids regardless of their surface tension. Omniphobic liquid-like surfaces (LLSs) are a promising alternative to air-mediated superhydrophobic or superoleophobic surfaces and lubricant-mediated slippery surfaces, avoiding fabrication complexity and air/lubricant loss issues. More importantly, the liquid-like molecular layer controls many important interface properties, such as slip, friction and adhesion, which may enable novel functions and applications that are inaccessible with conventional solid coatings. In this Review, we introduce LLSs and their inherent dynamic omniphobic mechanisms. Particular emphasis is given to the fundamental principles of surface design and the consequences of the liquid-like nature for task-specific applications. We also provide an overview of the key challenges and opportunities for omniphobic LLSs.

Publication types

  • Review