We carried out molecular dynamics simulations of water droplets on self-assembled monolayers of perfluorocarbon molecules. The interactions between the water droplet and the hydrophobic fluorocarbon surface were studied by systematically changing the molecular surface coverage and the mobility of the tethered head groups of the surface chain molecules. The microscopic contact angles were determined for different fluorocarbon surface densities. The contact angle at a nanometre length scale does not show a large change with the surface density. The structure of the droplets was studied by looking at the water density profiles and water penetration near the hydrophobic surface. At surface densities near close-packed coverage of fluorocarbons, the water density shows an oscillating pattern near the boundary with a robust layered structure. As the surface density decreased and more water molecules penetrated into the fluorocarbon surface, the ordering of the water molecules at the boundary became less pronounced and the layered density structure became diffuse. The water droplet is found to induce the interfacial surface molecules to rearrange and form unique topological structures that minimize the unfavorable water-surface contacts. The local density of the fluorocarbon molecules right below the water droplet is measured to be higher than the density outside the droplet. The density difference increases as the overall surface density decreases. Two different surface morphologies emerge from the water-induced surface reorganization over the range of surface coverage explored in the study. For surface densities near close-packed monolayer coverage, the height of the fluorocarbons is maximum at the center of the droplet and minimum at the water-vapor-surface triple junction, generating a convex surface morphology under the droplet. For lower surface densities, on the other hand, the height of the fluorocarbon surface becomes maximal at and right outside the water-vapor-surface contact line and decreases quickly towards the center of the droplet, forming a concave shape of the surface. The interplay between the fluorocarbon packing and the water molecules is found to have profound consequences in many aspects of surface-water interactions, including water depletion and penetration, hydrogen bonding, and surface morphologies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics