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Lotus-Like Water Repellency of Gas-Phase-Synthesized Graphene

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posted on 2022-04-21, 12:06 authored by M. Weston Miller, Makenna Parkinson, Albert Dato
The ability of lotus leaves to repel water is desired in numerous applications, such as self-cleaning surfaces, biomedical devices, and naval vessels. Creating materials that mimic the hierarchical structure and surface chemistry of lotus leaves requires multistep processes that are impractical for the mass production of nonwettable products. Superhydrophobic surfaces have been created using graphene. However, graphene sheets obtained through graphite exfoliation or deposition on substrates are not superhydrophobic and require additional processes to achieve lotus-like water repellency. In this work, we show that graphene produced in the gas phase is inherently superhydrophobic. Gas-phase-synthesized graphene (GSG) and lotus leaves have fundamentally different structures, yet water droplets on both materials exhibit comparable contact angles, roll-off angles, and bouncing characteristics. Furthermore, hydrophilic surfaces become superhydrophobic when covered with GSG. The substrate-free synthesis of GSG is straightforward and sustainable, which could enable the manufacturing of a diverse range of water-repellent technologies.