Preprint Article Version 2 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Facile Fabrication of Multifunctional ZnO Urchins

Version 1 : Received: 19 November 2018 / Approved: 22 November 2018 / Online: 22 November 2018 (04:59:37 CET)
Version 2 : Received: 10 December 2018 / Approved: 11 December 2018 / Online: 11 December 2018 (09:13:45 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Tripathy, A.; Wąsik, P.; Sreedharan, S.; Nandi, D.; Bikondoa, O.; Su, B.; Sen, P.; Briscoe, W.H. Facile Fabrication of Multifunctional ZnO Urchins on Surfaces. Colloids Interfaces 2018, 2, 74. Tripathy, A.; Wąsik, P.; Sreedharan, S.; Nandi, D.; Bikondoa, O.; Su, B.; Sen, P.; Briscoe, W.H. Facile Fabrication of Multifunctional ZnO Urchins on Surfaces. Colloids Interfaces 2018, 2, 74.


Functional ZnO nanostructured surfaces are important in a wide range of applications. Here we report facile fabrication of ZnO surface structures at near room temperature with morphology resembling that of sea urchins, with densely packed, μm-long, tapered nanoneedles radiating from the urchin centre. The ZnO urchin structures were successfully formed on several different substrates with high surface density and coverage, including silicon (Si), glass, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), and copper (Cu) sheets, as well as Si seeded with ZnO nanocrystals. Time-resolved SEM revealed growth kinetics of the ZnO nanostructures on Si, capturing the emergence of “infant” urchins at the early growth stage and subsequent progressive increase in the urchin nanoneedle length and density, whilst the spiky nanoneedle morphology was retained throughout the growth. ε-Zn(OH)2 orthorhombic crystals were also observed alongside the urchins. The crystal structures of the nanostructures at different growth time were confirmed by synchrotron X-ray diffraction measurements. On seeded Si substrates, a two-stage growth mechanism was identified, with a primary growth step of vertically aligned ZnO nanoneedle arrays preceding the secondary growth of the urchins atop the nanoneedle array. The antibacterial, anti-reflective, and wetting functionality of the ZnO urchins—with spiky nanoneedles and at high surface density—on Si substrates was demonstrated. First, bacteria colonisation was found to be suppressed on the surface after 24 h incubation in Gram-negative E. coli culture, in contrast to control substrates (bare Si and Si sputtered with 20 nm ZnO thin film). Secondly, the ZnO urchin surface, exhibiting superhydrophilic property with a water contact angle ~0°, could be rendered superhydrophobic with a simple silanization step, characterised by a water static contact angle θ of 159° ± 1.4° and contact angle hysteresis ∆θ < 7°. The dynamic superhydrophobicity of the surface was demonstrated by bouncing-off of a falling 10 μL water droplet, with a contact time of 15.3 milliseconds (ms), captured using a high-speed camera. Thirdly, it was shown that the presence of dense spiky ZnO nanoneedles and urchins on the seeded Si substrate exhibited a reflectance R < 1% over the wavelength range λ = 200–800 nm. The ZnO urchins with unique morphology via a facile fabrication route at room temperature, readily implementable on different substrates, may be further exploited for multifunctional surfaces and product formulations.


ZnO urchins; nanostructured surfaces; E. coli; superhydrophilic; superhydrophobic; anti-reflective surfaces


Chemistry and Materials Science, Surfaces, Coatings and Films

Comments (0)

We encourage comments and feedback from a broad range of readers. See criteria for comments and our Diversity statement.

Leave a public comment
Send a private comment to the author(s)
* All users must log in before leaving a comment
Views 0
Downloads 0
Comments 0
Metrics 0

Notify me about updates to this article or when a peer-reviewed version is published.
We use cookies on our website to ensure you get the best experience.
Read more about our cookies here.