Chen, C., Lin, J., Diau, E.W. et al. Appl. Phys. A (2008) 92: 615. doi:10.1007/s00339-008-4546-7
Self-cleaning of a surface of nanotube arrays of anodic titanium oxide (ATO) is demonstrated. The ATO was prepared in fluoride ion containing sulfate electrolytes with a structure of 0.4 μm length, 100 nm pores diameter, 120 nm interpore distance, 25 nm pore wall thickness, a 8×109 pores cm−2 pore density, and 68.2% porosity. Prepared as thin films either directly from a Ti foil or on a glass substrate, these arrays have the property that water drops spread quickly over the surface of the films without irradiation. In contrast, a flat anatase TiO2 film requires irradiation with UV light for several minutes before the contact angle decreases to zero. The observed self-cleaning behavior of the ATO thin films is due to the capillary effect of the nanochannel structure and the superhydrophilic property of the anatase TiO2 surface inside the tube.