- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Soft Matter
- Page Range or eLocation-ID:
- 2683 to 2694
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
More Like this
EXPRESS: Vibrational Spectroscopic Monitoring of the Gelation Transition in Nafion Ionomer DispersionsInfrared and Raman spectroscopy techniques were applied to investigate the drying and aggregation behavior of Nafion ionomer particles dispersed in aqueous solution. Gravimetric measurements aided the identification of gel-phase development within a series of time-resolved spectra that tracked transformations of a dispersion sample during solvent evaporation. A spectral band characteristic of ionomer sidechain end group vibration provided a quantitative probe of the dispersion-to-gel change. For sets of attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectra, adherence to Beer’s law was attributed to the relatively constant refractive index in the frequency region of hydrated -SO3 - group vibrations as fluorocarbon-rich ionomer regions aggregate in forming the structural framework of membranes and thin films. Although vibrational bands associated with ionomer backbone CF2 stretching vibrations were affected by distortion characteristic of wavelength-dependent refractive index change within a sample, the onset of band distortion signaled gel formation and coincided with ionomer mass % values just below the critical gelation point for Nafion aqueous dispersions. Similar temporal behavior was observed in confocal Raman microscopy experiments that monitored the formation of a thin ionomer film from an individual dispersion droplet. For the ATR FTIR spectroscopy and confocal Raman microscopy techniques, intensity in the water H-O-H bendingmore »
Structural color printings have broad applications due to their advantages of long-term sustainability, eco-friendly manufacturing, and ultra-high resolution. However, most of them require costly and time-consuming fabrication processes from nanolithography to vacuum deposition and etching. Here, we demonstrate a new color printing technology based on polymer-assisted photochemical metal deposition (PPD), a room temperature, ambient, and additive manufacturing process without requiring heating, vacuum deposition or etching. The PPD-printed silver films comprise densely aggregated silver nanoparticles filled with a small amount (estimated <20% volume) of polymers, producing a smooth surface (roughness 2.5 nm) even better than vacuum-deposited silver films (roughness 2.8 nm) at ~4 nm thickness. Further, the printed composite films have a much larger effective refractive index
n(~1.90) and a smaller extinction coefficient k(~0.92) than PVD ones in the visible wavelength range (400 to 800 nm), therefore modulating the surface reflection and the phase accumulation. The capability of PPD in printing both ultra-thin (~5 nm) composite films and highly reflective thicker film greatly benefit the design and construction of multilayered Fabry–Perot (FP) cavity structures to exhibit vivid and saturated colors. We demonstrated programmed printing of complex pictures of different color schemes at a high spatial resolution of ~6.5 μm by three-dimensionally modulating the top composite film geometries andmore »
Development of MEMS Process Compatible (Bi,Sb)2(Se,Te)3-Based Thin Films for Scalable Fabrication of Planar Micro-Thermoelectric GeneratorsBismuth telluride-based thin films have been investigated as the active material in flexible and micro thermoelectric generators (TEGs) for near room-temperature energy harvesting applications. The latter is a class of compact printed circuit board compatible devices conceptualized for operation at low-temperature gradients to generate power for wireless sensor nodes (WSNs), the fundamental units of the Internet-of-Things (IoT). CMOS and MEMS compatible micro-TEGs require thin films that can be integrated into the fabrication flow without compromising their thermoelectric properties. We present results on the thermoelectric properties of (Bi,Sb)2(Se,Te)3 thin films deposited via thermal evaporation of ternary compound pellets on four-inch SiO2 substrates at room temperature. Thin-film compositions and post-deposition annealing parameters are optimized to achieve power factors of 2.75 mW m−1 K−2 and 0.59 mW m−1 K−2 for p-type and n-type thin films. The measurement setup is optimized to characterize the thin-film properties accurately. Thin-film adhesion is further tested and optimized on several substrates. Successful lift-off of p-type and n-type thin films is completed on the same wafer to create thermocouple patterns as per the target device design proving compatibility with the standard MEMS fabrication process.
Preparation of thin films by dissolving polymers in a common solvent followed by evaporation of the solvent has become a routine processing procedure. However, modeling of thin film formation in an evaporating solvent has been challenging due to a need to simulate processes at multiple length and time scales. In this work, we present a methodology based on the principles of linear non-equilibrium thermodynamics, which allows systematic study of various effects such as the changes in the solvent properties due to phase transformation from liquid to vapor and polymer thermodynamics resulting from such solvent transformations. The methodology allows for the derivation of evaporative flux and boundary conditions near each surface for simulations of systems close to the equilibrium. We apply it to study thin film microstructural evolution in phase segregating polymer blends dissolved in a common volatile solvent and deposited on a planar substrate. Effects of the evaporation rates, interactions of the polymers with the underlying substrate and concentration dependent mobilities on the kinetics of thin film formation are studied.
We report the discovery of a hitherto unreported mechanism of drainage and rupture of micellar foam films that presents unexplored opportunities for understanding and controlling the stability, lifetime and properties of ubiquitous foams. It is well-known that ultrathin micellar foam films exhibit stratification, manifested as stepwise thinning and coexistence of thin–thick flat regions that differ in thickness by a nanoscopic step size equal to the intermicellar distance. Stratification typically involves the spontaneous formation and growth of thinner, darker, circular domains or thicker, brighter mesas. Mechanistically, domain expansion appears similar to hole growth in polymer films undergoing dewetting by nucleation and growth mechanism that can be described by considering metastable states resulting from a thickness-dependent oscillatory free energy. Dewetting polymer films occasionally phase separate into thick and thin regions forming an interconnected, network-like morphology by undergoing spinodal dewetting. However, the formation of thick–thin spinodal patterns has never been reported for freestanding films. In this contribution, we show that the thickness-dependent oscillatory contribution to free energy that arises due to confinement-induced layering of micelles can drive the formation of such thick-thin regions by undergoing a process we term as spinodal stratification. We visualize and characterize the nanoscopic thickness variations and transitions bymore »