Metal Gets New Water-Repellent Properties Using Nanoscale Patterns


Photo by: BenediktGeyer via Pixabay


New-York based University of Rochester’s researchers have used lasers in order to create a very detailed pattern of nanoscale and microstructures that change a metal's surface. As the metal gets new physical properties, it becomes water-repellent without the use of solvents, paints, and other special coatings.

According to the researchers who are working in the lab of Rochester, the new physical properties of metal will have many commercial applications, such as de-icing large trucks and commercial airplanes, corrosion and rust prevention, and having anti-microbial and cleaner surfaces to be used in medical and surgical facilities. 

The researchers shared that their super-hydrophobic technology uses lasers in order to make a pattern of nanoscale structures. In 2015, Institute of Optics’ senior scientist Anatoliy Vorobyev and a professor of optics Chunlei Guo have described that the ultrashort laser pulses they have used are “extremely powerful” to change the metal surface.

The Rochester researchers understood that to make the technology viable for commercial applications, the lasers need to be more powerful. This led technology company FemtoRoc Corp. to undergo a joint research with the school’s Institute of Optics and associate professor of optics John Marciante.  FemtoRoc has estimated a $10 million for the research budget and they said that it may take six years to finish. “It’s a very ambitious undertaking, says associate professor Marciante. He adds that it is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a new science.