Nature is abundant with examples where intrinsic surface micro- and nano-structure results in interesting adhesion, friction, wetting and optical properties. Means to manipulate/introduce structure is a versatile tool for tuning interfacial properties for real world applications, namely metamaterials, photosensitive, self-cleaning, anti-fogging, anti-icing surfaces. Wetting properties of bioinspired and biomimetic hierarchical-structured surfaces have received significant scientific attention in the past 2 decades, especially for water as the working fluid.
In our lab, we study how non-equilibrium conditions at fluid interfaces can allow spontaneous patterns to merge from evaporating colloidal suspensions. More recently, we are interested in pushing the boundaries of current understanding of how surface structure can be used as a tool to achieve exquisite wetting transitions. To do so, we employ range of theoretical (kinetic and thermodynamic analysis of phase transitions), computational (finite element modeling and singular perturbation theory) and experimental (photo- and soft-lithography methodologies to introduce chemical and structural heterogeneities in the substrate) strategies.