The Nanostructured Functional Surfaces program leverages on nanofabrication technologies and particularly emphasizes on cost-effective scalable process to develop surface structured materials with new functionalities or with improved ones. Much of the work in the program is inspired on natural functional surface structures.
The special competencies of the program include surface patterning techniques such as nano-imprint lithography, soft lithography and molecular patterning.
Presently the program is active on the following research areas:
- Nano-engineered functional surfaces for medical applications, particularly in the development of biomimetic bactericidal functionalities (RSC Adv. 2018, 8, 22606) and cell culture platforms for cell biomechanical assays (Adv. Funct. Mater. 2016, 26, 5599).
- Multifunctional surfaces. The program is developing the methodology to impart onto polymer nanocomposites additional surface properties, particularly those of super-hydrophobicity and self-cleaning based on bio-inspired surface nanotexturing. The program is also focused on up-scaling the methodology using Roll to roll nanoimprint technology.
- Polymer nanoimprinting for optical applications such as polymer lasers and waveguides, antireflective surfaces (Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 15496) and optical sensors in collaboration with the Organic Photophysics and Photonics group.
We have produced nanoimprinted moth-eye surface nanocomposite films exhibiting multifunctional broadband anti-reflective and photo-induced self-cleaning properties with improved mechanical resistance.
The anti-reflective films are produced in combined processing steps of titanium dioxide nanoparticle coating and surface imprinting of moth-eye nanostructures. Nanoparticle - polymer blending and formation of reinforced sub-wavelength surface nanocomposite features is achieved simultaneously.
This methodology represents a practical approach for producing nanoimprinted surfaces with superior mechanical properties and multi functionality. The films are suitable for flexible and portable solar devices (Navarro et al., Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 15496).