Structured silicon surfaces, possessing hierarchical porous characteristics consisting of micrometer-sized cavities superimposed upon a network of nanometer-sized pillars or wires, have been fabricated by a plasma-etching process. These surfaces have superoleophobic properties, after being coated with fluorinated organic trichlorosilanes, on intrinsically oleophilic surfaces. By comparison with flat silicon surfaces, which are oleophilic, it has been demonstrated that a combination of low surface energy and the structured features of the plasma-etched surface is essential to prevent oil from penetrating the surface cavities and thus induce the observed macroscopic superoleophobic phenomena with very low contact-angle hysteresis and low roll-off angles. The structured silicon surfaces were coated with cellulose nanocrystals using the polyelectrolyte multilayer technique. The cellulose surfaces prepared in this way were then coated with a monolayer of fluorinated trichlorosilanes. These porous cellulose films displayed highly nonwetting properties against a number of liquids with low surface tension, including alkanes such as hexadecane and decane. The wettability and chemical composition of the cellulose/silicon surfaces were characterized with contact-angle goniometry and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, respectively. The nano/microtexture features of the cellulose/silicon surfaces were also studied with field-emission scanning electron microscopy. The highly oleophobic structured cellulose surfaces are very interesting model surfaces for the development of biomimetic self-cleaning surfaces in a vast array of products, including green constructions, packaging materials, protection against environmental fouling, sports, and outdoor clothing, and microfluidic systems.
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