COALESCENCE-INDUCED DROPLET JUMPING ON ATMOSPHERIC-MEDIATED SUPERHYDROPHOBIC SURFACES
Coalescence-induced droplet jumping has received much attention over the past decade due to its ability to passively remove microscale droplets thereby enhancing condensation heat transfer, anti-icing, self-cleaning, and energy harvesting performance. However, droplet-jumping relies on surface superhydrophobicity, which results from the joint contributions of surface roughness and low-surface-energy conformal coatings such as alkyl and perfluorinated molecules. In spite of fantastic laboratory scale demonstrations, jumping-droplet surfaces fail to gain traction in real-life applications due to poor durability of the low surface energy coatings required to achieve superhydrophobicity. Here, we demonstrate that by exposing rationally designed intrinsically hydrophilic copperbased hierarchically structured CuO surfaces to ambient air, robust superhydrophobicity enabling coalescenceinduced
droplet jumping can be achieved. The as-prepared CuO surfaces experienced a transition from superhydrophilic to superhydrophobic with final apparent advancing contact angle and roll-off angle of >160° and <10°, respectively. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) confirmed that the wettability transition from wetting to non-wetting arises due to adsorption of airborne volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on the high-aspectratio and high-surface-area nanostructures. Due to the permanent and reliable source of VOCs in ambient air, the superhydrophobicity was shown to be retrievable after organic solvent and plasma cleaning. Most importantly, high-speed optical microscopy revealed the presence of stable coalescence-induced droplet jumping during
atmospheric water vapor condensation. Our work not only promises an economic and facile way of fabricating
superhydrophobic surfaces without the need for application of low-surface-energy chemistries, it also develops a platform for the development of next-generation durable superhydrophobic surfaces that can self-heal in the presence of ambient air.