Novel use of polymer brushes in colloidal lithography to overcome lateral capillary force.


A general method has been developed for transferring interfacially trapped, submonolayer hexagonal arrays of silica particles for nano- and mesoscopic surface patterning. Poly(n-butyl acrylate) and poly(n-butyl acrylate-random-N,N-diethylaminoethyl acrylate) brushes were grafted on the substrates via the "graft-from" method using atom transfer radical polymerization. The polymer brush served as an adhesive promoter between the particles and the substrate and proved to be effective for locking the particles in the hexagonal lattice against the lateral capillary force arising from a thin layer of water attached to the surface of the substrate. Several parameters that influence preservation of the order of the particle arrays were examined. These include brush thickness, brush composition, interparticle distance, and particle diameter.


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