Physics Colloquium: Making nonstick coatings out of thin air

Event Details

  • Speaker(s): Dr. Robert Lamb
  • Date:
  • Time: 4:00 PM
  • Location: MacN 101


Nonstick coatings are everywhere in nature and these have stimulated numerous applications in industry. For example leaf surfaces have been the inspiration for novel waterproof textile coatings. Insect wings may hold the key to strategies for antifouling on marine vessels and the associated energy savings that go hand in hand with such developments.

The latest “green” nanotechnology approach to fabricating extremely nonstick surfaces involves self-organized and chemically cross linked nanoparticles. These generate exceptionally rough multi scale hierarchical interfaces that simultaneously possess a unique ability to self‐clean.

But what is behind such an effect? Why does a lotus leaf stay clean in nature but when freshly cut it rapidly contaminates? Rinsing inert “dirt” from textiles is enhanced if the surface has multi scale roughness yet biological (live) contaminants “sense” subtle nanoscale features and may “hold on” despite such washing.

This talk will examine immersed interfaces with synchrotron X ray scattering experiments. Results suggest that ultrarough surfaces that are visibly soaked are not necessarily completely wet and this can have major implications with respect to optimizing, for instance, antifouling behavior. Similarly optical properties of such films can result from fine tuning bulk mixtures of nanoparticle cluster sizes and variable surface architectures.


Refreshments are available in the I.K. MacKenzie Interaction Room, MacN 217, prior to the colloquium

About Dr. Robert Lamb

Robert Lamb is the Executive Director of Canadian Light Source Inc.

Professor Lamb was educated at Melbourne and Cambridge Universities, and subsequently held academic appointments in England, Germany, United States, Hong Kong and Australia, as well as senior administrative positions in both University and Government. He works at the interface between Physics and Chemistry, and has published over 200 papers, holds 39 patents, and trained 81 postgraduates.

A major interest is in the way public and private sectors form relationships to translate science into technology. Along the way, Rob has also been involved in the creation of four companies, the most recent in Hong Kong/China.

Professor Lamb has been a synchrotron light source user in Europe, US and Asia for over 25 years. He was also the founding director of the Australian Light Source.