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Corrosion-Resistant Functional Diamond Coatings for Reliable Interfacing of Liquid Metals with Solid Metals

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-08-26, 14:12 authored by Stephan Handschuh-Wang, Tao Wang, Lifei Zhu, Yang Xu, Lei Huang, Tiansheng Gan, Yongbing Tang, Xuechang Zhou
Gallium-based liquid metals (GLMs) exist as atypical liquid-phase metals at and near room temperature while being electrically and thermally conductive, enabling copious applications in soft electronics and thermal management systems. Yet, solid metals are affected by interfacing with GLMs, resulting in liquid metal embrittlement and device failure. To avert this issue, mechanically durable and electrically tunable diffusion barriers for long-term reliable liquid metal–solid metal interfacing based on the deposition of various diamond coatings are designed and synthesized, as they feature high chemical inertness and extraordinary mechanical resistance. The diamond coatings show superlyophobicity (GLM contact angle ≥ 155°) and are nonstick toward GLMs, thereby achieving high mobility of GLM droplets (sliding angle 8–12°). The excellent barrier and anti-adhesion performance of the diamond coatings are proven in long-term experiments (3 weeks) of coated titanium alloy (Ti) samples in contact with GLMs. The electrical performance of the conductive diamond coating deposited on Ti is reliable and stable over a period of 50 h. As proof-of-concept applications a switch and a thermal management device based on liquid metals are demonstrated, signifying that coating diamond films on metals is a potent means to achieve stable integration of solid metals with GLMs.