Surface science, which includes the preparation, development and analysis of surfaces and coatings, is essential in both fundamental and applied as well as in engineering and industrial research. Contact angle measurements using sessile drop techniques are commonly used to characterize coated surfaces or surface modifications. Well-defined surfaces structures at both nanoscopic and microscopic level can be achieved but the reliable characterization by means of contact angle measurements and their interpretation often remains an open question. Thus, we focused our research effort on one main problem of surface science community, which is the determination of correct and valid definitions and measurements of contact angles. In this regard, we developed the high-precision drop shape analysis (HPDSA), which involves a complex transformation of images from sessile drop experiments to Cartesian coordinates and opens up the possibility of a physically meaningful contact angle calculation. To fulfill the dire need for a reproducible contact angle determination/definition, we developed three easily adaptable statistical analyses procedures. In the following, the basic principles of HPDSA will be explained and applications of HPDSA will be illustrated. Thereby, the unique potential of this analysis approach will be illustrated by means of selected examples.
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