Atomic force microscopy and thermodynamics on taro, a self-cleaning plant leaf

Hüger, E.; Rothe, H.; Frant, M.; Grohmann, S.; Hildebrand, G.; Liefeith, K.
July 2009
Applied Physics Letters;7/20/2009, Vol. 95 Issue 3, p033702
Academic Journal
The evolution-optimized leaves of Colocasia esculenta (taro) and Nelumbo nucifera (lotus) are the best optimized self-cleaning surfaces known to date. Using an atomic force microscope device equipped with a piezodriven sample stage which enables a z-range of 100 μm we measured the surface morphology of dried and undried leaves of Colocasia esculenta. Thermodynamic calculations were done to investigate the interaction strength of a water droplet with the surfaces of the morphology shown in the images. The results show that the hierarchical structure produces a stable superhydrophobic state with optimal self-cleaning properties.


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