Multiple interfaces in self-assembled breath figures
This feature article describes the multiple interfaces in the breath figure (BF) method toward functional honeycomb films with ordered pores. If a drop of polymer solution in a volatile solvent such as carbon disulphide is placed in a humid environment, evaporative cooling leads to self-assembled arrays of condensed water droplets. After evaporation of the solvent and water, patterned pores can be formed. During this BF process, the interfaces between the solution and the substrate, the solution and water droplets, and the film surface and air play extremely important roles in determining both the structures and functions of the honeycomb films. Progress in the BF method is reviewed by emphasizing the roles of the interfacial interactions. The applications of hierarchical and functional honeycomb films in separation, biocatalysis, biosensing, templating, stimuli-responsive surfaces and adhesive surfaces are also discussed.