• Ashutosh Sharma

Articles written in Bulletin of Materials Science

• Soft lithography meets self-organization: Some new developments in meso-patterning

This is a brief review of our recent and ongoing work on simple, rapid, room temperature, pressure- less and large area (∼ cm2) imprinting techniques for high fidelity meso-patterning of different types of polymer films. Examples include soft solid polymer films and surfaces like cross-linked polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and polyacrylamide (PAA) based hydrogels, thermoplastics like polystyrene (PS), polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) etc both on planar and curved surfaces. These techniques address two key issues in imprinting:

attainment of large area conformal contact with the stamp, especially on curved surfaces, and

ease of stamp detachment without damage to the imprinted structures.

The key element of the method is the use of thin and flexible patterned foils that readily and rapidly come into complete conformal contact with soft polymer surfaces because of adhesive interfacial interactions. The conformal contact is established at all length scales by bending of the foil at scales larger than the feature size, in conjunction with the spontaneous deformations of the film surface on the scale of the features. Complex two-dimensional patterns could also be formed even by using a simple one-dimensional master by multiple imprinting. The technique can be particularly useful for the bulk nano applications requiring routine fabrication of templates, for example, in the study of confined chemistry phenomena, nanofluidics, bio-MEMS, micro-imprinting, optical coatings and controlled dewetting.

• Resorcinol–formaldehyde based carbon nanospheres by electrospraying

Carbon nanospheres were synthesized using sol–gel processing of organic and aqueous resorcinol formaldehyde (RF) sols combined with electrospraying technique. RF sol was electrosprayed to form nanodroplets which were collected on a Si wafer. After oven drying at 60°C for 12 h, RF nano-droplets were pyrolyzed at 900°C in an inert atmosphere to yield the carbon nanospheres. This study reports the optimization of various process parameters including needle diameter, applied electric potential and liquid flow rate in order to get spherical, mono-disperse particles. For the organic RF sol, the optimized parameters, needle diameter 0.241 mm, electric potential, 1.5 kV/cm and a flow rate of 0.8 ml/h, enabled the synthesis of nearly monodispersed carbon nano-spheres with diameter of 30.2 ± 7.1 nm. With the same conditions, aqueous RF sol produced irregularly shaped nanoparticles with a smaller mean diameter and much higher variance (17.4 ± 8.0 nm). The surface properties were significantly influenced by the surface morphologies as demonstrated by the water contact angle (WCA) studies. The surface covered with the RF derived carbon nano-spheres was extremely hydrophilic (WCA 10.1°) as compared to a much weaker hydrophilicity of the RF derived carbon films (WCA 83.3°). The hydrophilic carbon nanospheres reported here may have potential applications as adsorbents and in controlled drug delivery, biosensors and carbon-based microelectromechanical systems (C-MEMS) including bio-MEMS.

• Hydrophobic recovery of cross-linked polydimethylsiloxane films and its consequence in soft nano patterning

Cross-linked polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) films and surfaces obtained by thermal cross-linking of commercially available Sylgard 184 are widely utilized in many areas of science, due to superior thermal stability, low dielectric constant, transparency and biocompatibility. Cross-linked PDMS surfaces are weakly hydrophobic and several experiments, particularly the ones that utilize capillary-driven microscale flow require the modulation of the surface wettability. A well-known strategy to achieve the same is by exposing the Sylgard 184 surface to UV/ozone (UVO) treatment at room temperature. Depending on the duration of exposure, the wettability drops from hydrophobic to a nearcompletewetting (water contact angle $\sim$10$^{\circ}$), due to the formation of a surface oxide layer. However, under normal atmospheric conditions, these surfaces recover their hydrophobicity over a period of time due to diffusive migration of the uncrosslinked oligomers to the surface, and formation of a hydrophobic dimethyl silicone layer. We explore the hydrophobic recovery process as a function of cross-linker concentration and UVO exposure time and show how a partially or fully recovered PDMS stamp may influence subsequent nanopatterning, including the possible creation of features with different morphology using a single stamp.

• # Bulletin of Materials Science

Volume 46, 2023
All articles
Continuous Article Publishing mode

• # Dr Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar for Science and Technology

Posted on October 12, 2020

Prof. Subi Jacob George — Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Jakkur, Bengaluru
Chemical Sciences 2020