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Published December 2011 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

The Microscopic Structure of Adsorbed Water on Hydrophobic Surfaces under Ambient Conditions


The interaction of water vapor with hydrophobic surfaces is poorly understood. We utilize graphene templating to preserve and visualize the microscopic structures of adsorbed water on hydrophobic surfaces. Three well-defined surfaces [H–Si(111), graphite, and functionalized mica] were investigated, and water was found to adsorb as nanodroplets (~10–100 nm in size) on all three surfaces under ambient conditions. The adsorbed nanodroplets were closely associated with atomic-scale surface defects and step-edges and wetted all the hydrophobic substrates with contact angles < ~10°, resulting in total water adsorption that was similar to what is found for hydrophilic surfaces. These results point to the significant differences between surface processes at the atomic/nanometer scales and in the macroscopic world.

Additional Information

© 2011 American Chemical Society. Received: October 17, 2011. Published: November 03, 2011. We thank G. Rossman for assistance in using the Micro Raman spectrometer and the Department of Energy for support (DEFG02-04ER46175).

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Supplemental Material - nl2036639_si_001.pdf


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