Superhydrophobic nanocoatings: from materials to fabrications and to applications
Superhydrophobic nanocoatings, a combination of nanotechnology and superhydrophobic surfaces, have received extraordinary attention recently, focusing both on novel preparation strategies and on investigations of their unique properties. In the past few decades, inspired by the lotus leaf, the discovery of nano- and micro-hierarchical structures has brought about great change in the superhydrophobic nanocoatings field. In this paper we review the contributions to this field reported in recent literature, mainly including materials, fabrication and applications. In order to facilitate comparison, materials are divided into 3 categories as follows: inorganic materials, organic materials, and inorganic–organic materials. Each kind of materials has itself merits and demerits, as well as fabrication techniques. The process of each technique is illustrated simply through a few classical examples. There is, to some extent, an association between various fabrication techniques, but many are different. So, it is important to choose appropriate preparation strategies, according to conditions and purposes. The peculiar properties of superhydrophobic nanocoatings, such as self-cleaning, anti-bacteria, anti-icing, corrosion resistance and so on, are the most dramatic. Not only do we introduce application examples, but also try to briefly discuss the principle behind the phenomenon. Finally, some challenges and potential promising breakthroughs in this field are also succinctly highlighted.