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J Chem Phys. 2006 Nov 14;125(18):184716.

Charge driven, electrohydrodynamic patterning of thin films.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA.


In electrohydrodynamic patterning, electrical forces and surface tension acting at the interface between two fluids sandwiched between silicon wafers compete to set the period of pillar arrays, gratings, and concentric rings. Shrinking the period to deep submicron lengths requires a precise understanding of the source of the electric field. Previous modeling efforts have assumed that applied voltages, contact potentials, and static charge drive the flow. Here we show the location of that charge and the tangential stress it engenders to impact profoundly how the period and growth rate depend on the dielectric contrast and the relative film thickness. The pillar-to-pillar spacing scales inversely proportional to the charge density, and densities of approximately 1 mC/m(2) (approximately 1 charge/100 nm(2)) suffice to produce micron sized pillars.

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