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Mimicking lizard-like surface structures upon ultrashort laser pulse irradiation of inorganic materials

: Hermens, Ulrike; Kirner, Sabrina V.; Emonts, Caroline; Comanns, Philipp; Skoulas, Evangelos; Mimidis, A.; Mescheder, Holger; Winands, Kai; Krüger, Jörg; Stratakis, Emmanuel; Bonse, Jörn


Applied surface science 418 (2017), Pt.B, pp.499-507
ISSN: 0169-4332
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IPT ()
femtosecond laser ablation; laser-induced periodic surface structures; lizard; surface wetting; fluid transport; steel; Fertigungstechnik; Lasermaterialbearbeitung

Inorganic materials, such as steel, were functionalized by ultrashort laser pulse irradiation (fs- to ps- range) to modify the surfaces wetting behavior. The laser processing was performed by scanning the laser beam across the surface of initially polished flat sample material. A systematic experimental study of the laser processing parameters (peak fluence, scan velocity, line overlap) allowed the identification of different regimes associated with characteristic surface morphologies (laser-induced periodic surface structures, grooves, spikes, etc.). Analyses of the surface using optical as well as scanning electron microscopy revealed morphologies providing the optimum similarity to the natural skin of lizards. For mimicking skin structures of moisture-harvesting lizards towards an optimization of the surface wetting behavior, additionally a two-step laser processing strategy was established for realizing hierarchical microstructures. In this approach, micrometer-scaled capillaries (step 1) were superimposed by a laser-generated regular array of small dimples (step 2). Optical focus variation imaging measurements finally disclosed the three dimensional topography of the laser processed surfaces derived from lizard skin structures. The functionality of these surfaces was analyzed in view of wetting properties.