Previous research into Sb2O3 has been aimed at fabricating nanostructured forms for use as fire retardants, catalysts, ultraviolet filters, functional fillers and anode materials for li-ion batteries. According to the Chinese group, little work has been devoted to studying the material's surface wettability.

Making the material
The team used a solution-based method to come up with its final aqueous suspension of Sb2O3 particles, which was deposited on glass substrates by drop-casting. Finally, the as synthesized thick films were dried in a vacuum oven at 40 °C for 24 hours.

Like many superhydrophobic materials, the Sb2O3 film possesses a network of micro and nanostructured elements. This so-called hierarchical structure is able to repel water by trapping pockets of air within its surface roughness, which reduces the amount of liquid–solid contact.

"We expect the film's superhydrophobicity to greatly extend the advantages of Sb2O3 materials by helping to keep surfaces clean and free of contamination," Lei Jiang told nanotechweb.org. "Our next step will be focused on the bioinspired construction of intelligent functional materials with micro-nanoscale hierarchical structures."

The researchers presented their work in Nanotechnology.