Pattern formation in a polymer thin film induced by an in-plane electric field

Salac, David; Wei Lu; Chia-Wei Wang; Sastry, Ann Marie
August 2004
Applied Physics Letters;8/16/2004, Vol. 85 Issue 7, p1161
Academic Journal
This letter reports experimental work involving use of an in-plane electric field to induce morphological patterns in a thin polymer film. The film was first spin coated onto a glass wafer. Then, it was heated to above its glass transition temperature to achieve mobility in the fluid. An in-plane electric field was applied using two parallel electrodes, spaced 10 mm apart, whereupon the initially flat polymer/air interface lost stability and formed islands. The self-assembled islands exhibited a narrow size distribution and demonstrated spatial ordering. We attribute the pattern formation to a combined mechanism of minimization of combined interface energy and electrostatic energy.


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