Laser beams have lots of uses. They can be used to remove body hair, blast things from the ground, perform bloodless surgery, remove fats from the body, and destroy tanks and other armaments within its effective range. It’s almost as if there’s no end to their applications. They’re so versatile that they can be used to both create and destroy.
Even now, Scientists at Rochester University have discovered another use for lasers: turning ordinary metals waterproof proof or hydrophobic. This means that water will just bounce off their surface once it hits.
Creaming the metal surface with a series of femtosecond laser pulses makes this possible. The project was financed by The Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation and Air Force Office of Scientific Research and is published in its entirety in the Journal of Applied Physics.
What makes this process unique is that the treated materials not only repel water but also allow the absorption of light and heat. Practical applications include non-stick cooking utensils and collection of rain water in arid places. Another very important application is keeping solar panels dry, reducing their maintenance cost.
Chunlei Guo, a professor of optics and physics at the University of Rochester explained that scientist transformed the surface of the materials to repel water. The technique involves dissecting the metal’s nanostructure.
Subjecting the metals to successive laser blasts create certain surface patterns that are able to repel water with high efficiency. Upon closer examination, researchers discovered that metals repelled water more effectively when treated with lasers using micro and nanoscale structures. Water beading will occur similar to when your car is newly waxed. The water forms into droplets and does not wet the surface
Previously, Gou and his group were able to create hydrophilic materials. These are materials that absorbs water swiftly and accurately.
The group is planning to create multifunctional effects such as semiconductors and dielectrics on other materials.