ERC - Superamphiphobic surfaces for chemical processing

Grant Duration: 6 years
Grant starting date: March 2014

Superhydrophobic surfaces hold enormous promise as future self-cleaning or anti-fouling coatings. Their widespread use was, however, limited by contamination with oils and dissolved substances and insufficient mechanical stability. Superamphiphobic surfaces prevent contamination. They not only repel water but also non-polar liquids, surfactant and protein solutions. We recently developed a concept to fabricate transparent, robust superamphiphobic coatings, that is potentially upscalable for industrial mass production. The almost contact-free interface opens up new opportunities:

  • Highly-efficient, superamphiphobic gas membranes will be developed which are chemically inert and long-lasting. 
  • We propose a novel solvent-free strategy of making complex microspheres on demand.
  • We will explore the new opportunities arising in microfluidics due to a reduction in the hydrodynamic drag and a possible increase of the electro-osmotic mobility.
  • The potential of superamphiphobic coatings to prevent the formation of biofilms will be determined and anti-biofouling materials will be developed.

We relate the microscopic structure of superamphiphobic layers to their wetting behavior, roll-off angle, mechanical strength and hydrodynamic drag. Based on these insights, improved and adapted designs to fabricate superamphiphobic layers will be developed. This project makes it possible to determine the potential of superamphiphobic layers in novel approaches to microchemical processing including improved transport, synthesis and characterization.

Aiming for a profound understanding of the wetting properties of the surfaces we use high-end commercial and home-built setups.

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