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Synergism of Dewetting and Self-Wrinkling to Create Two-Dimensional Ordered Arrays of Functional Microspheres


Möhwald,  Helmuth
Helmuth Möhwald, Grenzflächen, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Max Planck Society;

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Han, X., Hou, J., Xie, J., Yin, J., Tong, Y., Lu, C., et al. (2016). Synergism of Dewetting and Self-Wrinkling to Create Two-Dimensional Ordered Arrays of Functional Microspheres. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 8(25), 16404-16411. doi:10.1021/acsami.6b03036.

Here we report a simple, novel yet robust non-lithographic method for the controlled fabrication of two-dimensional (2-D) ordered arrays of polyethylene glycol (PEG) microspheres. It is based on the synergistic combination of two bottom-up processes enabling periodic structure formation for the first time: dewetting and the mechanical wrinkle formation. The deterministic dewetting results from the hydrophilic polymer PEG on an incompatible polystyrene (PS) film bound to a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrate, which is directed both by a wrinkled template and the template-directed in-situ self-wrinkling PS/PDMS substrate. Two strategies have been introduced to achieve synergism to enhance the 2-D ordering, i.e., employing 2-D in-situ self-wrinkling substrates and boundary conditions. As a result, we achieve highly ordered 2-D arrays of PEG microspheres with desired self-organized microstructures, such as the array location (e.g., selectively on the crest/in the valley of the wrinkles), the diameter, spacing of the microspheres, and the array direction. Additionally, the coordination of PEG with HAuCl4 is utilized to fabricate 2-D ordered arrays of functional PEG-HAuCl4 composite microspheres, which are further converted into different Au nanoparticle arrays. This simple versatile combined strategy could be extended to fabricate highly ordered 2-D arrays of other functional materials and achieve desirable properties and functionalities.