University of Twente develops self-cleaning 'lotus plastic'

Jan. 16, 2007
January 16, 2006, Enschede, The Netherlands--By using nature to inspire, scientists at the University of Twente have developed a self-cleaning surface that mimics the leaf of a lotus plant. The technology of the 'lotus plastic' surface--made possible by using an ultrafast femtosecond laser--will be detailed in the World News section of Laser Focus World magazine's March issue.

January 16, 2006, Enschede, The Netherlands--By using nature to inspire, scientists at the University of Twente have developed a self-cleaning surface that mimics the leaf of a lotus plant. The technology of the 'lotus plastic' surface--made possible by using an ultrafast femtosecond laser--will be detailed in the World News section of Laser Focus World magazine's March issue.

PhD student Max Groenendijk of the Applied Laser Technology Group of the University of Twente explains how the technique taps into the secret of the lotus leaf and its numerous tiny pillars with a wax layer on top: Water drops are lifted by these pillars, form into a spherical shape, and the spherical drops roll off and take dirt particles with them.

The laser scientists of the University of Twente aimed at creating similar surfaces, but without having to use wax and instead using an ultrafast femtosecond laser. The laser is applied to the surface in two separate steps. During the first step, the surface gets a fine ripple structure. The second step is writing a pattern of perpendicular lines. What remains is an array of pillars that already have the fine pattern caused by the first step, making the surface highly hydrophobic.

For more information, visit www.utwente.nl.

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