Thermally induced superhydrophilicity in TiO2 films prepared by supersonic aerosol deposition

Jung Jae Park, Do Yeon Kim, Sanjay S. Latthe, Jong Gun Lee, Mark T. Swihart, Sam S. Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Superhydrophilic and superhydrophobic surfaces enable self-cleaning phenomena, either forming a continuous water film or forming droplets that roll off the surface, respectively. TiO2 films are well-known for their extreme hydrophilicity and photocatalytic characteristics. Here, we describe nanostructured TiO2 thin films prepared by supersonic aerosol deposition, including a thorough study of the effects of the annealing temperature on the crystal structure, surface morphology, surface roughness, and wetting properties. Powder X-ray diffraction showed that supersonic deposition resulted in fragmentation and amorphization of the micrometer-size anatase (60%)-rutile (40%) precursor powder and that, upon annealing, a substantial fraction of the film (∼30%) crystallized in the highly hydrophilic but metastable brookite phase. The film morphology was also somewhat modified after annealing. Scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy revealed rough granular films with high surface roughness. The as-deposited TiO 2 films were moderately hydrophilic with a water contact angle (θ) of ∼45, whereas TiO2 films annealed at 500 C became superhydrophilic (θ ∼ 0) without UV illumination. This thermally induced superhydrophilicity of the TiO2 films can be explained on the basis of the combined effects of the change in the crystal structure, surface microstructure, and surface roughness. Supersonic aerosol deposition followed by annealing is uniquely able to produce these nanostructured films containing a mixture of all three TiO2 phases (anatase, rutile, and brookite) and exhibiting superhydrophilicity without UV illumination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6155-6160
Number of pages6
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jul 10


  • aerosol deposition
  • annealing
  • superhydrophilic
  • surface roughness
  • wetting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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