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Issue 22, 2010
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Contact-line mechanics for pattern control

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Wrinkled surfaces are ubiquitous in Nature and can be used in a large range of applications such as improved adhesives, microfluidic patterns, or as metrology instruments. Despite wide-ranging applications, existing methods do not permit local pattern control since all existing methods impose extensive compressive strains. In this article, we describe a new process that exploits the local deformation of a soft substrate as it stretches to form an adhesive interface with a thin polymer film. The wrinkle pattern is effectively a measurement of the strain-field created during the adhesion process, which shows a strong dependence on the speed of attachment. We develop simple scaling arguments to describe this velocity dependence and a critical velocity above which wrinkles do not form. Notably, our approach allows us to define the surface pattern “wrinkle-by-wrinkle”, thus permitting the creation of single wrinkles. Intricate patterns on laterally extensive length scales can also be produced by exploiting the shape of the contact line between the film and the substrate. This level of control—the placement of single features of prescribed trajectory—which is not present in any other method of thin film wrinkling, is absolutely necessary for any realistic, scalable application.

Graphical abstract: Contact-line mechanics for pattern control

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The article was received on 26 Mar 2010, accepted on 12 Jul 2010 and first published on 11 Aug 2010

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00165A
Citation: Soft Matter, 2010,6, 5789-5794

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    Contact-line mechanics for pattern control

    G. Miquelard-Garnier, A. B. Croll, C. S. Davis and A. J. Crosby, Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 5789
    DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00165A

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