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Soft Matter. 2014 Jul 7;10(25):4451-7. doi: 10.1039/c4sm00245h.

Evaporation-induced formation of self-organized gradient concentric rings on sub-micron pre-cast PMMA films.

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Materials Program, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, USA.


A "particle-on-film" template is developed to fabricate self-organized surface patterns through solvent evaporation on initially featureless, sub-micron PMMA films. The small particle placed on the pre-cast PMMA film is able to confine a toluene droplet and influence the evaporative process. Well-ordered gradient concentric rings are formed around the particle due to the unconventional "advancing-receding" motion of the contact line in the "stick" state on the surface of the PMMA films. Both the center-to-center distance between adjacent rings (wavelength) and the height of the rings (amplitude) are strongly dependent on the particle size and the film thickness, and decrease with the decrease of the distance to the center of the particle. A linear dependence of the amplitude of the rings on the wavelength is observed under experimental conditions. The results demonstrate that the "particle-on-film" template has the potential to fabricate highly-ordered surface patterns economically and efficiently.

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