Metal oxide photocatalysts (MOPCs) decompose organic molecules under illumination. However, the application of MOPCs in industry and research is currently limited by their intrinsic hydrophilicity because MOPCs can be wetted by most liquids. To achieve liquid repellency, the surface needs to possess a low surface energy, but most organic molecules with low surface energy are degraded by photocatalytic activity. Herein, current methods to achieve liquid repellency on MOPCs, while preventing degradation of hydrophobic coatings, are reviewed. Classically, composite materials containing MOPCs and hydrophobic organic compounds possess good liquid repellency. However, composites normally form irregular coatings and are hard to prepare on surfaces such as those that are mesoporous or nanostructured. In addition, the adhesion of composites to substrates is often weak, resulting in delamination. Recent studies have shown that the direct grafting reaction of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) from silicone oil (methyl-terminated PDMS) under illumination results in a stable polymer brush. This easy and simple grafting method allows us to create stable liquid-repellent surfaces on MOPCs of various types, structures, and sizes. In particular, super-liquid-repellent drops with an underlying air layer can be created on PDMS-grafted nano-/microstructured MOPCs. Potential applications of surfaces combining liquid repellency and photocatalytic activity are also discussed; thus offering new ways of using MOPCs in a wider range of applications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Organic Chemistry