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Research Zernike (ZIAM) News Seminars

Naureen Akhtar: Robust under-water supereleophobic surfaces

When:Fr 07-10-2016 11:00 - 12:00

Owing to its excellent mechanical and thermal properties as well as optical performance, sapphire is extensively used as window in optical sensors for harsh conditions, for example underwater surveillance in the oil industry. However, under these conditions the sapphire surfaces are continuously exposed to oil and other fouling mixtures, which can lead to contamination of the window surface. Hence, making the surface underwater oleophobic would be highly desirable. We found out that a sapphire surface can change from oleophilic to superoleophobic depending on the crystal miscut, polishing method and initial cleanliness state when submerged in water. Moreover, giving the surface the hydrophilic character improves the underwater oleophobic character. This could be understood in the context of underwater superoleophobic surfaces found in nature that exhibit higher propensity for trapping water. Inspired by the underwater superoleophobic self-cleaning surfaces found in nature such as fish scales, sapphire surfaces could be further developed for maintenance free solutions for permanent underwater installation of optical instrumentation .