The Tunable Hydrophobic Effect on Electrically Doped Graphene

JHJ Ostrowski and JD Eaves, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 118, 530-536 (2014).

DOI: 10.1021/jp409342n

Using molecular dynamics simulations, we study the hydrophobic effect on electrically doped single layer graphene. With doping levels measured in volts, large changes in contact angle occur for modest voltages applied to the sheet. The effect can be understood as a renormalization of the surface tension between graphene and water in the presence of an electric field generated by the dopant charge, an entirely collective effect termed electrowetting. Because the electronic density of states scales linearly in the vicinity of the Fermi energy, the cosine of the contact angle scales quartically with the applied voltage rather than quadratically, as it would for a two-dimensional metal or in multiple layer graphene. While electrowetting explains the phenomenon, it does not account for the slight asymmetry observed in the hydrophobic response between n- and p-doping.

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