High-resolution patterning of solution-processable materials via externally engineered pinning of capillary bridges

11 Jan 2018

Electronics based on solution-processable materials are promising for applications in many fields which stimulated enormous research interest in liquid drying and pattern formation. However, assembling of structure with submicro/nano-meter resolution through liquid process is very challenge. We show a simple method to rapidly generate polymer structures with deep- submicrometer sized features over large areas. In this method, a solution film is dried on a substrate under a suspended flexible template with groove/ridge surface topography. Upon solvent evaporation, the solution splits in the grooves and forms capillary bridges between the template and substrate, which are firmly pinned by the edges of the template grooves. This groove pinning stabilizes the contact lines, thereby allowing the formation of fine patterned structures with high aspect ratios which were used to fabricate various functional materials and electronic devices. We also produced secondary self-assembled nano-stripe patterns with resolutions of about 50 nm on the primary lines.