A short-range ordered–disordered transition of a NiOOH/Ni(OH)2 pair induces switchable wettability†
By virtue of its amorphous structure with a short-range order feature, the inorganic nanoporous nickel oxyhydroxide (NiOOH) can reversibly and rapidly switch wettability by alternate treatments of environmental chamber (superhydrophobic) and UV/ozone (superhydrophilic). The switchable mechanism of the NiOOH/Ni(OH)2 pair arising from its exceptional intrinsic short-range order–disorder transition together with chemical composition change is highlighted for the first time, which significantly differs from the current stimuli-responsive materials. This distinct multifunctional thin film not only possesses reversible wettability but also is optically patternable/repairable and electrically conductive, which could be applicable in the manufacturing of various micro- and nanostructures. We demonstrate this potential in the rewritable two-dimensional (2D) microfluidic channels and wetting-contrast enhanced selective electroplating.