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Dynamic Shaping of Femtoliter Dew Droplets

Abstract : Herein, we show that wetting properties such as giant wetting anisotropy and dynamic shaping can be observed when femtoliter (submicron scale) dew droplets are condensed on nanopatterned mildly hydrophilic surfaces. Large-scale, optically transparent, nanopatterned TiO2 surfaces were fabricated by direct nanoimprinting lithography of sol–gel-derived films. Square, infinitely elongated, or circular droplets were obtained with square, line, or concentric patterns, respectively, and were visualized in situ during formation and recession using optical microscopy and environmental scanning electronic microscopy. We first describe how extremely elongated droplets could form on mildly hydrophilic surfaces, naturally contaminated in real environmental conditions. In this configuration, the dew droplet shape can be dynamically and reversibly varied by controlling the out-of-equilibrium conditions associated with condensation/evaporation kinetics. As an example of the application, we propose a “morphological” sensor that exploits the shape of the dew droplets as a transduction mode for detecting organic vapors in the outer atmosphere. Importantly, this study is underlining that environmentally stable, purely hydrophilic surfaces can be smartly engineered to induce wetting phenomena at very small scale never observed so far for hydrophobic or heterogeneous surfaces. Our versatile approach based on nanoimprinted, transparent sol–gel films could open great perspectives for the implementation of environmentally stable, mildly hydrophilic materials for “dew engineering” applications such as open microfluidics, fuming for fingerprints, vapor sensing, or water harvesting on glass windows, for instance.
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Contributor : Philippe Steyer <>
Submitted on : Monday, September 17, 2018 - 7:12:42 PM
Last modification on : Monday, March 29, 2021 - 3:08:09 PM



Marco Faustini, Andrea Cattoni, Jennifer Péron, Cédric Boissière, Paul Ebrard, et al.. Dynamic Shaping of Femtoliter Dew Droplets. ACS Nano, American Chemical Society, 2018, 12 (4), pp.3243 - 3252. ⟨10.1021/acsnano.7b07699⟩. ⟨hal-01875812⟩



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