Creating micro-scale surface topology to achieve anisotropic wettability on an aluminum surface

Andrew D. Sommers, Anthony M. Jacobi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A technique for fabricating micropatterned aluminum surfaces with parallel grooves 30 νm wide and tens of microns in depth is described. Standard photolithographic techniques are used to obtain this precise surface-feature patterning. Positive photoresists, S1813 and AZ4620, are selected to mask the surface, and a mixture of BCl3 and Cl2 gases is used to perform the etching. Experimental data show that a droplet placed on the micro-grooved aluminum surface using a micro-syringe exhibits an increased apparent contact angle, and for droplets condensed on these etched surfaces, more than a 50% reduction in the volume needed for the onset of droplet sliding is manifest. No chemical surface treatment is necessary to achieve this water repellency; it is accomplished solely by an anisotropic surface morphology that manipulates droplet geometry and creates and exploits discontinuities in the three-phase contact line. These micro-structured surfaces are proposed for use in a broad range of air-cooling applications, where the management of condensate and defrost liquid on the heat transfer surface is essential to the energy-efficient operation of the machine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number018
Pages (from-to)1571-1578
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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