Laura Montes, Jose M. Román, Xabier García-Casas, Javier Castillo-Seoane, Juan Ramon Sanchez-Valencia, Ángel Barranco, Carmen López-Santos and Ana Borrás
Advanced Materials Interface8 (21), 2100767
Fabrication of tunable wetting surfaces is sought for the last years given its importance on energy, biomaterials and antimicrobials, water purification, microfluidics, and smart surfaces. Liquid management on surfaces mainly depends on the control at the micro- and nanoscale of both roughness and chemical composition. Herein, the combination of a soft-template method and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition is presented for the synthesis of TiO2 nanofibers on porous substrates such as cellulose and stainless-steel membranes. The protocol, carried out under mild conditions, produces 3D nanomembranes with superhydrophobicity and oleophilicity that are tested as microliter water/oil filters. Photoactivation of TiO2 by UV illumination provides a straightforward approach for wetting tunability that converts the surface into amphiphilic. A final chemical modification of the TiO2 nanofibers by embedding them in an elastomeric polymeric shell and by fluorine-based grafting opens the path toward the formation of superomniphobic and self-cleaning surfaces with long-lasting lifetimes. Thus, a reliable procedure is demonstrated for the fabrication of TiO2 nanofibers, which allows the modification of porous supports and provides an innovative route for the development of 3D nanomembranes with under design wetting. This protocol is extendable to alternative metal oxides, metals, and core@shell nanoarchitectures with potential multifunctionalities.