modulating atomic defects in 2D-nanomaterials
A new concept controls the wetting characteristics by modulating atomic defects in 2D-nanomaterials. (Credit: Texas A&M Engineering)

Researchers have developed a “lotus effect” by incorporating atomic defects in nanomaterials, which could have widespread uses including biosensing, lab-on-a-chip, and other biomedical applications.

Superhydrophobic materials are used extensively for self-cleaning characteristic of devices. However, current materials require alteration to the chemistry or topography of the surface to work. This limits the use of superhydrophobic materials.

The design adopts a ‘nanoflower-like’ assembly of two-dimensional (2D) atomic layers to protect the surface from wetting. Researchers used 2D molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), a new class of 2D nanomaterials that has shown enormous potential in nanoelectronics, optical sensors, renewable energy sources, catalysis and lubrication, but has not been investigated for biomedical applications. This innovative approach demonstrates applications of this unique class of materials to the biomedical industry.

This innovative technique opens many doors for expanded applications in several scientific and technological areas. The superhydrophobic coating can be easily applied over various substrates such as glass, tissue paper, rubber or silica using the solvent evaporation method.

These superhydrophobic coatings have widespread applications, not only in developing self-cleaning surfaces in nanoelectronics devices, but also for biomedical applications. Specifically, the study demonstrated that blood and cell culture media containing proteins do not adhere to the surface, which is very promising.