Detection and drug delivery from superhydrophobic materials
Falde, Eric John
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The wetting of a rough material is controlled by surface chemistry and morphology, the liquid phase, solutes, and surfactants that affect the surface tension with the gas phase, and environmental conditions such as temperature and pressure. Materials with high (>150˚) apparent contact angles are known as superhydrophobic and are very resistant to wetting. However, in complex biological mixtures eventually protein adsorbs, fouling the surface and facilitating wetting on time scales from seconds to months. The work here uses the partially-wetted (Cassie-Baxter) to fully-wetted (Wenzel) state transition to control drug delivery and to perform surfactant detection via surface tension using hydrophobic and superhydrophobic materials. First there is an overview of the physics of the non-wetting state and the transition to wetting. Then there is a review of how wetting can be controlled by outside stimuli and applications of these materials. Next there is work presented on controlling drug release using superhydrophobic materials with controlled wetting rates, with both in vitro and in vivo results. Then there is work on developing a sensor based on this wetting state transition and its applications toward detecting solute levels in biological fluids for point-of-care diagnosis. Finally, there is work presented on using these sensors for detecting the alcohol content in wine and spirits.