A droplet deposited on a rough, lyophilic surface satisfying the imbibition condition, results in complete wetting. However, in this work, we demonstrate that this behavior can be altered by superheating the substrate such that droplets can reside in a non-wetting Cassie state due to evaporation. Photolithography and deep reactive ion etching were used to fabricate a well-defined silicon micropillar array with diameter, height, and center-to-center spacings of 5.3, 21.7 and 27.5 μm, respectively. Water droplets placed on this microstructured surface at room temperature demonstrated superhydrophilic behavior with liquid filling the voids between pillars resulting in a vanishing contact angle. However, when the microstructured surface was superheated above a critical value, the superhydrophilicity was lost and non-wetting Cassie droplets were formed. The superheat required to deposit a Cassie droplet (>75°C) was found to be significantly higher than that required to sustain an already deposited Cassie droplet (<35°C). Interestingly, the superheat required to sustain a Cassie droplet after the initial deposition was found to decrease with the square of the droplet radius. These observations where an inherently superhydrophilic structured surface turns into superhydrophobic at nominal superheats has implications for phase change based heat transfer applications where the loss of contact between the substrate and the heat transfer fluid can be detrimental to the device performance.

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