Controllable and Gradient Wettability of Bilayer Two-Dimensional Materials Regulated by Interlayer Distance

HF Ye and CG Yin and J Wang and YG Zheng, ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES (2022).

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.2c08282

Surfaces with controllable and gradient wettability often require an elaborate design of the microstructure or its response under electrical, thermal, optical, pH, and other stimuli. Generally, the wettability change under these physical or chemical effects relies on a complex mechanism that is difficult to be quantitatively described. In this study, an online controlling strategy for surface wettability and the corresponding theoretical model are put forward based on a bilayer graphene-like atomic structure. Molecular dynamics results indicate that the surface wettability varies toward hydrophilicity after sticking a bottom material regardless of its wettability. But such an influence becomes weak with increasing interlayer distance, and the overall wettability approaches that of the upper layer material gradually. This variation is elucidated by the increase of the work of adhesion, providing new insight into the wetting transparency of graphene. A theoretical model of the governing relationship is established based on the work of adhesion, which correlates the overall surface wettability with the interlayer distance and the wettabilities of individual materials. Moreover, a surface with a uniform wettability gradient is achieved by inclining the bottom material. The spontaneous and steady motion of droplets can be induced by this gradient wettability. The relevant speedup behavior is evaluated through a theoretical model considering the varying interlayer distance, which reveals the critical role of the lower layer. This study proposes a novel strategy for controllable wetting and relevant gradient surfaces using prevailing two-dimensional materials, paving new routes to many applications such as microfluidic chips, virus diagnosis, and intelligent sensors.

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