Mr Oliver Bäumchen. Saarland University (Germany)

Image Description:
Recently scientists have observed that leaves of several plants such as "nelumbo nucifera", also known as lotus plant, show so called self-cleaning properties ("lotus effect"). This refers to the fact that a rain shower can easily wash away dust particles etc. that for instance reduce the effiency of the photosynthesis. On such water repellent surfaces, water droplets form spheres with very little adhesion to the surface and roll off even at very small inclinations. Two main factors influence the wetting of a surface by a liquid: On the one hand, there is chemical heterogeneity, on the other hand physical roughness on the micro- and nanometer scale. A lately discovered new material, an aluminium/aluminiumoxide nanocomposite, shows superhydrophobic wetting behaviour depending on the structure. This 2 µm x 2 µm atomic force microscopy image shows one of the observable structures, a carpet-like assembly of nanowires, which are deposited by a chemical vapour deposition process.


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