(266g) Zwitter-Wettability and Antifogging Coatings With Frost-Resisting Capabilities

Lee, H., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Rubner, M. F., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cohen, R. E., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Antifogging coatings with hydrophilic or even superhydrophilic wetting behavior have received significant attention due to their ability to reduce light scattering by film-like condensation. However, under aggressive fogging conditions, these surfaces may exhibit frost formation or excess and non-uniform water condensation, which results in poor optical performance of the coating.  In this work, we show that a zwitter-wettable surface, a surface that has the ability to rapidly absorb molecular water from the environment while simultaneously appearing hydrophobic when probed with water droplets, can be prepared by using hydrogen-bonding assisted Layer-by-Layer (LbL) assembly of poly(vinyl alcohol)(PVA) and poly(acrylic acid)(PAA).  An additional step of functionalizing the nano-blended PVA/PAA multilayer with poly(ethylene glycol methyl ether)(PEG) segments produced a significantly enhanced antifog and frost resistant behavior.  The addition of the PEG segments was needed to further increase the non-freezing water capacity of the multilayer film.  The desirable high optical quality of these thin films arises from the nanoscale control of the macromolecular complexation process that is afforded by the LbL processing scheme.  An experimental protocol that not only allows for the exploration of a variety of aggressive antifogging challenges but also enables quantitative analysis of the antifogging performance via real-time monitoring of transmission levels as well as image distortion is also described.