Mimicking biological structured surfaces by phase separation micromolding

Jian Gao, Yiliu Liu, Huaping Xu, Zhiqiang Wang, and Xi Zhang

Langmuir, 2009, 25, 4365-4369.

In this letter, we present a very convenient and efficient technique of direct replication of biological structures via a two-step phase-separation micromolding process (PSμM). Our study has demonstrated that PSμM can be used to replicate the surface structure of a lotus leaf. On one hand, the micro/nanostructures of the lotus leaf are well replicated after a two-step PSμM. On the other hand, the replicated artificial lotus leaf shows good superhydrophobicity, similar to that of the natural lotus leaf. In addition, we have also applied the same technique to replicate a rice leaf and have confirmed that replicated artificial rice leaves can exhibit not only a very similar structure of the natural rice leaf but also surface anisotropic wetting. It is greatly anticipated that this PSμM can be extended to mimic many other biostructures, therefore opening new avenues for surface molecular engineering.