Applied Surface Science, Vol.494, 1055-1065, 2019
Short and long term surface chemistry and wetting behaviour of stainless steel with 1D and 2D periodic structures induced by bursts of femtosecond laser pulses
We investigate the short and long term wettability of laser textured stainless steel samples in order to better understand the interplay between surface topography and chemistry. Very different 1D and 2D periodic as well as non-periodic surface patterns were produced by exploiting the extreme flexibility of a setup consisting of five rotating birefringent crystals, which allows generating bursts of up to 32 femtosecond laser pulses with fixed intra-burst delay of 1.5 ps. The change of the surface morphology as a function of the pulse splitting, the burst polarization state and the fluence was systematically studied. The surface topography was characterized by SEM and AFM microscopy. The laser textured samples exhibited, initially, superhydrophilic behaviour which, during exposure to ambient air, turned into superhydrophobic with an exponential growth of the static contact angle. The dynamic contact angle measurements revealed a water adhesive character which was explained by XPS analyses of the surfaces that showed an increase of hydrocarbons and more oxidized metal species with the aging. The characteristic water adhesiveness and superhydrophobicity of laser textured surfaces can be exploited for no loss droplet reversible transportation or harvesting.