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Liquid-like polymer lubricating surfaces (LPLSs) are solid substrates with highly flexible polymer chains grafted via covalent bonds. This unique modification enables ultralow contact-angle hysteresis, repellency of various liquids and bulk ice, and stability. The distinctive wettability and universality of LPLSs have potential applications in liquid motion, biological detection, and environmental protection. In this review, we summarize the mechanisms, preparation, and applications of LPLSs. We discuss the wettability and lubrication mechanisms of liquid droplets on LPLSs. We then categorize LPLS fabrication into “grafted onto” and “grafted from” groups, depending on the type of polymer. We highlight representative applications with recent developments in anti-complex liquid, anti-icing, anti-biological adhesions, biosensing, and photocatalytic activity. Finally, we discuss future challenges and outlooks for LPLSs.

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Liquid-like polymer lubricating surfaces: Mechanism and applications

Show Author's information Dagui Wang1Jinglong Yang2Junchang Guo2Zhijuan Duan3Deihui Wang1,2( )Fan Xia3( )Fei Deng4,5( )Xu Deng6( )
Yangtze Delta Region Institute (Huzhou), University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Huzhou 313001, China
Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610054, China
State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology, Engineering Research Center of Nano-Geomaterials of Ministry of Education, Faculty of Materials Science and Chemistry, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430070, China
Department of Nephrology, Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 610054, China
Department of Nephrology, Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital Jinniu Hospital, Chengdu Jinniu District People’s Hospital, Chengdu 610054, China
Shenzhen Institute for Advanced Study, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Shenzhen 518110, China


Liquid-like polymer lubricating surfaces (LPLSs) are solid substrates with highly flexible polymer chains grafted via covalent bonds. This unique modification enables ultralow contact-angle hysteresis, repellency of various liquids and bulk ice, and stability. The distinctive wettability and universality of LPLSs have potential applications in liquid motion, biological detection, and environmental protection. In this review, we summarize the mechanisms, preparation, and applications of LPLSs. We discuss the wettability and lubrication mechanisms of liquid droplets on LPLSs. We then categorize LPLS fabrication into “grafted onto” and “grafted from” groups, depending on the type of polymer. We highlight representative applications with recent developments in anti-complex liquid, anti-icing, anti-biological adhesions, biosensing, and photocatalytic activity. Finally, we discuss future challenges and outlooks for LPLSs.

Keywords: wettability, liquid-like, lubricating, polymer surface



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Publication history

Publication history

Received: 13 April 2023
Revised: 05 May 2023
Accepted: 12 May 2023
Published: 24 July 2023
Issue date: February 2024


© Tsinghua University Press 2023



This work was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2022M710611), the S&T Special Program of Huzhou (Nos. 2021GZ10 and 2021GZ51), the Central Government Funds of Guiding Local Scientific and Technological Development for Sichuan Province (No. 2021ZYD0046), the Chengdu Science and Technology Bureau (No. 2021-GH02-00105-HZ), the Sichuan Outstanding Young Scholars Foundation (No. 2021JDJQ0013), the Sichuan Science and Technology Program Foundation (Nos. 2021JDRC0016 and 2023JDRC0082), the “Medical and Industrial Cross Foundation” of University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital (No. ZYGX2021YGLH207), and the “Oncology Medical Engineering Innovation Foundation” project of University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and Sichuan Cancer Hospital (No. ZYGX2021YGCX009).