Micro and nano top-down technology has nowadays been able to downscale feature sizes to far less than a micron. In this process the surface-area to volume ratio increases and thereby surface forces like capillary, Van der Waals, and electrostatic forces become dominant over body/bulk forces. This leads to unwanted stiction and high friction, ultimately affecting the performance of any moving parts in the device negatively. Therefore low-adhesion, low-friction and stable coating materials are needed for today’s high performance technological devices.
We took this challenge and prepared covalently bound fluoropolymer coatings, which displayed significantly lower adhesion and friction forces than conventional non-covalent coatings. Additionally, covalent linkage to the substrate of a range of polymers was tested under different relevant operating conditions (neutral, acidic, basic and physiological), and the results showed that covalent linkages yield high stability that allows application in a wide range of high-end devices.