The efficiency of most industrial plants depends crucially on water vapor condensing on metal plates or condensers, and how easily the condensed water can fall away allowing for more droplets to form. On a typical, flat-plate condenser, water vapor condenses to form a liquid film on the surface, drastically reducing the condenser's ability to collect more water, and ultimately acting as a barrier to heat transfer.
By creating hydrophobic surfaces, either through chemical treatment or through surface patterning, researchers have been able to prevent this problem by encouraging water droplets to form and fall away. Now, we have taken this process a step further by making surfaces that are patterned at multiple scales.
The energy, released as tiny droplets of water that merge to form larger ones, is enough to propel the droplets upward from the surface. The removal of droplets doesn't depend solely on gravity — droplets don't just fall from the surface — they actually JUMP away from it.