Polymer-Templated Durable and Hydrophobic Nanostructures for Hydrogen Gas Sensing Applications

Polymers (Basel). 2021 Dec 20;13(24):4470. doi: 10.3390/polym13244470.

ABSTRACT

A simple and hands-on one-step process has been implemented to fabricate polymer-templated hydrophobic nanostructures as hydrogen gas sensing platforms. Topographic measurements have confirmed irregular hills and dips of various dimensions that are responsible for creating air bubble pockets that satisfy the Cassie-Baxter state of hydrophobicity. High-resolution field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) has revealed double-layer structures consisting of fine microscopic flower-like structures of nanoscale petals on the top of base nanostructures. Wetting contact angle (WCA) measurements further revealed the contact angle to be ~142.0° ± 10.0°. Such hydrophobic nanostructures were expected to provide a platform for gas-sensing materials of a higher surface area. From this direction, a very thin layer of palladium, ca. 100 nm of thickness, was sputtered. Thereafter, further topographic and WCA measurements were carried out. FESEM micrographs revealed that microscopic flower-like structures of nanoscale petals remained intact. A sessile drop test reconfirmed a WCA of as high as ~130.0° ± 10.0°. Due to the inherent features of hydrophobic nanostructures, a wider surface area was expected that can be useful for higher target gas adsorption sites. In this context, a customized sensing facility was set up, and H2 gas sensing performance was carried out. The surface nanostructures were found to be very stable and durable over the course of a year and beyond. A polymer-based hydrophobic gas-sensing platform as investigated in this study will play a dual role in hydrophobicity as well as superior gas-sensing characteristics.

PMID:34961021 | PMC:PMC8709065 | DOI:10.3390/polym13244470

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