Resembling neatly stacked rows of driftwood abandoned by receding tides, particles left by a confined, evaporating droplet can create beautiful and complex patterns. The natural, pattern-forming process could find use in fields such as nanotechnology and optoelectronics.
"A lot of work in nanotechnology has been directed toward the bottom-up imposition of patterns onto materials," said Steve Granick, a professor of materials science, chemistry and physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "We found that beautiful patterns of high fidelity and regularity could form naturally and spontaneously, simply by allowing a drop to evaporate in a confined geometry."
Granick and former postdoctoral research associate Zhiqun Lin (now a professor of materials science at Iowa State University) describe their work in a paper that has been accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and posted on its Web site. Funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.
James E. Kloeppel | News Bureau
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