Abstract

This work involves a new optical application for transparent superhydrophobic materials, which enables low-energy optical contact between a liquid and solid surface. The new technique described here uses this surface property to control the reflectance of a surface using frustration of total internal reflection. Surface chemistry and appropriate micro-scale and nano-scale geometries are combined to produce interfaces with low adhesion to water and the degree to which incident light is reflected at this interface is controlled by the movement of water, thereby modifying the optical characteristics at the interface. The low adhesion of water to superhydrophobic surfaces is particularly advantageous in imaging applications where power use must be minimized. This paper describes the general approach, as well as a proof-of-principle experiment in which the reflectance was controlled by moving a water drop into and out of contact with a superhydrophobic surface by variation of applied electrostatic pressure.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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