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Keywords:

  • smart surface;
  • self-assembled monolayer;
  • pH-responsive surface;
  • superhydrophilicity;
  • superhydrophobicity;
  • ternary diagram
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Superhydrophobic to neutral water droplets, superhydrophilic to acidic or basic. This double transition of surface wettability in response to a single stimulus – pH – is demonstrated for the first time. The smart surface is composed of a rough gold surface modified with a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) containing three thiols, HS(CH2)11CH3, HS(CH2)10COOH, and HS(CH2)11NH2. A ternary diagram is generated that describes wettability as a function of the SAM composition and the pH of the surrounding solution.