Investigation of the Hydrophobic Nature of Metal Oxide Surfaces Created by Atomic Layer Deposition

Jongyoon Bae, Izabela A. Samek, Peter C. Stair*, Randall Q. Snurr

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Surface hydrophobicity can be exploited in the design of catalyst materials to improve their activity and selectivity. One versatile method for modifying the hydrophobicity of the environment surrounding an active site is atomic layer deposition (ALD). In this work, Al 2 O 3 , TiO 2 , and SiO 2 deposited by ALD as well as CeO 2 deposited by electron beam evaporation-all on α-Al 2 O 3 wafers-are investigated to determine their intrinsic hydrophobicity and any changes upon exposure to the atmosphere. The properties of metal oxide thin films are compared to those of single-crystal α-Al 2 O 3 , α-SiO 2 , and Y/ZrO 2 . Contact angle measurements with water combined with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy studies are applied to determine the hydrophobicity and elemental content of the metal oxides. Both the single-crystal and thin-film metal oxides are found to be intrinsically hydrophilic following a rapid thermal-processing procedure. Upon exposure to air, the investigated metal oxide surfaces become increasingly hydrophobic, correlated to the adsorption of carbonaceous species. Metal oxide thin films deposited by ALD exhibit the same hydrophobicity behavior as their single-crystal equivalents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5762-5769
Number of pages8
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 30 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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