Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Physics and Applied Physics

First Advisor

Dexian Ye


The time-dependent wettability of nickel nanorod arrays was studied by measuring their water contact angles as a function of "aging" time in air. The nickel nanorod arrays were deposited on silicon substrates by DC magnetron sputtering using an oblique angle of 85° with respect to the substrate normal. By changing the deposition time from 10 to 90 min., the diameter, height, and separation of the nanorods were varied. The water contact angles of each sample were then periodically measured from a minimum aging time of 30 min. after deposition and exposure to air, up to a maximum aging time of three months. The initial water contact angles for all samples were approximately equal to 8o, indicating that the nickel nanorod arrays were initially superhydrophilic. As the samples aged in air, however, they all showed increasing contact angles as a function of time that were nonlinear with different rates. The results can be grouped into two categories: thinner samples with shorter deposition times (10 to 55 min) demonstrated faster rates of increase in contact angle, and thicker samples with longer deposition times (60 and 90 min.) showed slower rates. The increase in contact angle with time indicates that the Ni nanorods become more hydrophobic with aging time in air. Surface chemical analysis demonstrates that this increase in hydrophobicity may be due to oxidization and hydrocarbon contamination, which depend on the nanorod morphology. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy results indicate that thinner samples (10-55 min. deposition time) have more adsorbed carbon as compared to thicker samples (60 and 90 min.). It appears that the reactivity of the Ni nanorods with air ambient is enhanced for shorter, smaller-diameter nanorods.


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Date of Submission

May 2011

Available for download on Thursday, May 13, 2021

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