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Nature-inspired superwettability systems

Abstract

Superwettability is a centuries-old concept that has been rediscovered in past decades, largely owing to new understanding of the mechanisms of special wetting phenomena in nature. Combining multiscale structures and surface chemical compositions is crucial to fabricate interfacial materials with superwettability. In this Review, we detail the historical development and summarize the various combined superwetting states in superwettability systems. Nature-inspired design principles of superwettable materials are also briefly introduced. Superwettability systems can be extended from 2D surfaces to 0D nanoparticles, 1D fibres and channels, and 3D integrated materials. We discuss new phenomena and the advantages that superwettability-based systems have for chemical reactions and materials fabrication, including emerging applications that utilize single extreme wetting states or that combine two extreme wetting states. Finally, we provide our perspective for future research directions.

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Figure 1: Chart of the major discoveries and developments in the field of superwettability.
Figure 2: Overview of the different wetting states (combined and individual) that are possible in superwettability systems.
Figure 3: Examples of biological surfaces with superwettability and their multiscale structures.
Figure 4: Design of superlyophilic and superlyophobic surfaces based on the intrinsic wetting threshold of the liquid.
Figure 5: Superwettability systems with different dimensionalities.
Figure 6: Superwettability-based chemistry and fabrication.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21421061, 21425314, 21434009 and 21574004), the National Research Fund for Fundamental Key Projects (2012CB933800), the Key Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KJZD-EW-M03), the 111 project (B14009), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, the National Young Thousand Talents Program, and the Top-Notch Young Talents Program of China.

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Liu, M., Wang, S. & Jiang, L. Nature-inspired superwettability systems. Nat Rev Mater 2, 17036 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/natrevmats.2017.36

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