Langmuir, Vol.36, No.13, 3667-3675, 2020
Wetting Transition of Ionic Substrate by Modulating Surface Charge Distribution
Surface wettability regulation plays a crucial role in antifouling and related applications. For regulating surface wettability, one of the effective approaches is to modulate the surface charge distribution. Herein, we report a theoretical study for unraveling the mechanistic relation between surface charge distribution and ionic substrate wettability. Specifically, acetonitrile liquids at ambient condition in contact with various ionic substrates are considered. At different surface charge distributions, the interfacial thermodynamic properties are investigated by means of molecular density functional theory. We find that the variation of the spatial interval among the discrete charges strongly alters the substrate-acetonitrile interaction and leads to an oscillation in the interfacial tension, indicating that the substrate can be tuned from a solvophobic one to a solvophilic one. This trend can be further enhanced by increasing the charge quantity. The underlying mechanisms are extensively discussed and expatiated. Our work provides theoretical guidance to engineer and regulate surface wettability.