Control over wettability via surface modification of porous gradients

Y. L. Khung, M. A. Cole, S. J.P. McInnes, N. H. Voelcker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOtherpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The control over surface wettability is of concern for a number of important applications including chromatography, microfluidics, biomaterials, low-fouling coatings and sensing devices. Here, we report the ability to tailor wettability across a surface using lateral porous silicon (pSi) gradients. Lateral gradients made by anodisation of silicon using an asymmetric electrode configuration showed a lateral distribution of pore sizes, which decreased with increasing distance from the electrode. Pore sizes were characterised using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Pore diameters ranged from micrometres down to less than 10 nanometres. Chemical surface modification of the pSi gradients was employed in order to produce gradients with different wetting or non-wetting properties. Surface modifications were achieved via silanisation of oxidised pSi surfaces introducing functionalities including polyethylene glycol, terminal amine and fluorinated hydrocarbon chains. Surface modifications were characterised using infrared spectroscopy. Sessile drop water contact angle measurements were used to probe the wettability in regions of different pore size across the gradient. For the fluorinated gradients, a comparison of equilibrium and dynamic contact angle measurement was undertaken. The fluorinated surface chemistry produced gradients with wettabilities ranging from hydrophobic to near super-hydrophobic whereas pSi gradients functionalised with polyethylene glycol showed graded hydrophilicity. In all cases investigated here, changes in pore size across the gradient had a significant effect on wettability.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBioMEMS and Nanotechnology III
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventBioMEMS and Nanotechnology III 2007 - Canberra, Australia
Duration: 5 Dec 20077 Dec 2007

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceBioMEMS and Nanotechnology III 2007


  • Lateral gradients
  • Porous silicon
  • Silanisation
  • Wettability

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