A Masdar Institute PhD student won the best oral presentation award at the 30th International Conference on Surface Modification Technologies (SMT30), which took place last month at the Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy.
Student Gabriele Scandura’s oral presentation was on a research paper titled “Investigation on the wettability of TiO2 evaporated thin films by atomic force microscopic and contact angle”, which he jointly authored with PhD students Corrado Garlisi, Chia-Yun Lai and Tuza Olukan, Master’s student Yun-Hsiang Chang, associate professor Dr. Matteo Chiesa and assistant professor Dr. Giovanni Palmisano.
Surface wettability is the ability of a liquid to maintain contact with a solid surface. It is important in a number of applications of relevance to the industries targeted in the UAE, including development of construction materials, semiconductor wafers, electronics and plastics. The awarded project is taking place as a collaboration between two Masdar Institute teams, one led by Dr. Palmisano and another lead by Dr. Chiesa.
“This research is relevant to the UAE since it uses an environmentally friendly material involving solar light exploitation, to get beneficial effects in applications requiring clean glass thanks to the self-cleaning effect coming from the photocatalytic effect with titanium dioxide (TiO2),” Dr. Palmisano explained.
The project aims to achieve an integrated nano- and macro- scale inspection of wettability alteration in titanium dioxide thin films deposited on glass through light exposure and the heating and strengthening process known as annealing. Demonstrating the effectiveness of annealing to produce water-repelling surfaces in this way supports the development of multipurpose self-cleaning coatings for glass.
Self-cleaning glass able to automatically get rid of organic pollutants is of particular interest to the UAE given the substantial amounts of glass being used in new buildings that need frequent cleaning.
“Highly developed construction activity in the world and especially in the UAE would certainly benefit of modern functional materials able to assure self-cleaning glass,” Dr. Palmisano explained.
Scandura was one of three PhD students to receive awards for best presentations, among approximately 50 contenders.
23 August 2016