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Issue 33, 2013
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The dominant role of the solvent–water interface in water droplet templating of polymers

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Abstract

We investigate the formation of microstructured polymer networks known as Breath Figure templated structures created by the presence of water vapour over evaporating polymer solutions. We use a highly controlled experimental approach to examine this dynamic and non-equilibrium process to uniquely compare pure solvent systems with polymer solutions and demonstrate using a combination of optical microscopy, focused ion-beam milling and SEM analysis that the porous polymer microstructure is completely controlled by the interfacial forces that exist between the water droplet and the solvent until a final drying dilation of the imprints. Water droplet contact angles are the same in the presence or absence of polymer and are independent of size for droplets above 5 μm. The polymer acts a spectator that serves to trap water droplets present at the air interface, and to transfer their shape into the polymer film. For the smallest pores, however, there are unexpected variations in the contact angle with pore size that are consistent with a possible contribution from line tension at these smaller dimensions.

Graphical abstract: The dominant role of the solvent–water interface in water droplet templating of polymers

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Publication details

The article was received on 24 May 2013, accepted on 08 Jul 2013 and first published on 08 Jul 2013


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C3SM51452H
Citation: Soft Matter, 2013,9, 7960-7965
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    The dominant role of the solvent–water interface in water droplet templating of polymers

    R. Daly, J. E. Sader and J. J. Boland, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 7960
    DOI: 10.1039/C3SM51452H

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