Transparent, thermally and mechanically stable superhydrophobic coating prepared by an electrochemical template strategy†
By mimicking nature, the preparation of artificial self-cleaning surfaces has gradually matured both in theory and technology, but their actual application has been hampered by enormous difficulties. The main challenge is that their design principle (i.e., their requirement for micro- and nano-structures) is difficult to reconcile with the need for coating strength and transparency. Here, we have exploited a porous structured silica coating with the help of an electrodeposited porous PEDOT template. This porous silica coating not only provides the requisite roughness for the final superhydrophobic surface, but also has a low refractive index, thereby enhancing the transparency of the silica coating. After fluorination, a highly transparent, thermally and mechanically stable superhydrophobic coating was obtained. The silica coating is found to withstand tests of harsh environments, such as mechanical resistance and ultra-high hydraulic pressure tests. This large-area superhydrophobic coating has great potential for use in solar cells and self-cleaning windows.