Emmanuel started his PhD studies in the group of Prof Paunov (Co-supervisor) in December 2012. He graduated with PhD in 2016.
PhD supervisors: Dr Tommy S. Horozov (PI) and Prof. Vesselin N. Paunov (Co-PI)
Research project 1:
Wetting and anti-biofouling properties of gradually impregnated porous coatings
Extreme water repellency of the Lotus leaf and the mechanism behind it is well studied and used for the fabrication of self-cleaning surfaces. Recently, the slippery mechanism of the rim of Nepenthes pitcher plant was revealed and mimicked in the so called Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS). Here, we have fabricated silica nano-porous coatings using commercially available hydrophobic fumed silica. The partial impregnation of the coatings with different amounts of a non-volatile oil allowed us to gradually tune its wetting behaviour from a superhydrophobic state in the absence of oil, through various intermediate wetting states, to slippery surfaces at high loading of oil. Superhydrophobic and slippery surfaces produced were found to possess very low retention of water drops and good anti-biofouling characteristics towards algae cells. Adhesion of both water drops and algae cells were found to follow similar trends, indication that adequate control over water adhesion may serve as useful step to prevent the adhesion of cells and other micro-organisms to solid surfaces in aquatic environment.