Wettability of transparent conductive nanostructured ITO and ITO/Al2O3 coatings

Atom physics and physics of clusters and nanostructures

In this paper, the water wettability of nanostructured ITO films, including those with Al2O3 protective layers, was studied. Nanostructured ITO films were deposited by magnetron sputtering and electron beam evaporation on the  preheated surface of a glass substrate, after which they were additionally annealed in a nitrogen atmosphere for 10 min. Some samples were covered with an aluminium oxide layer with various thicknesses. The Al2O3 protective coating was fabricated by atomic layer deposition. To estimate the wettability, we measured the contact angles of water drops on the horizontal surface of the films. The results show that, depending on the deposition method and  thickness, structured ITO films can be characterized both by hydrophilic and by hydrophobic properties. In the case of covering of the nanostructured ITO film deposited by the electron beam evaporation with a protective coating of  aluminium oxide, the hydrophobic properties of structured ITO films can be significantly improved and a superhydrophobic coating can be obtained.