Unsinkable Metal Structure is Etched by Lasers, Inspired by Bugs

University of Rochester researchers have created a metallic structure that is so water repellent, it doesn't sink. The structure uses an innovative technique that the lab developed for using femtosecond bursts of lasers to “etch” the surfaces of metals with intricate micro- and nanoscale patterns that trap air and make the surfaces water repellent. The researchers were also inspired by ants and spiders, which can survive under or on the surface of water by trapping air in an enclosed area. The team created a structure in which the treated surfaces on two parallel aluminum plates face inward, not outward, so they are enclosed.