Asymmetric liquid wetting and spreading on surfaces with slanted micro-pillar arrays†
Uni-directional liquid spreading on asymmetric silicone-fabricated nanostructured surfaces has recently been reported. In this work, uniformly deflected polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) micro-pillars covered with silver films were fabricated. Asymmetric liquid wetting and spreading behaviors in a preferential direction were observed on the slanted micro-pillar surfaces and a micro-scale thin liquid film advancing ahead of the bulk liquid droplet was clearly observed by high-speed video imaging. It is found that the slanted micro-pillar array is able to promote or inhibit the propagation of this thin liquid film in different directions by the asymmetric capillary force. The spreading behavior of the bulk liquid was guided and finally controlled by this micro-scale liquid film. Different spreading regimes are defined by the relationship between the liquid intrinsic contact angle and the critical angles, which were determined by the pillar height, pillar deflection angle and inter-pillar spacing.