Issue 11, 2015

Electrohydrodynamic patterning of ultra-thin ionic liquid films


In the electrohydrodynamic (EHD) patterning process, electrostatic destabilization of the air–polymer interface results in micro- and nano-size patterns in the form of raised formations called pillars. The polymer film in this process is typically assumed to behave like a perfect dielectric (PD) or leaky dielectric (LD). In this study, an electrostatic model is developed for the patterning of an ionic liquid (IL) polymer film. The IL model has a finite diffuse electric layer which overcomes the shortcoming of assuming infinitesimally large and small electric diffuse layers inherent in the PD and LD models respectively. The process of pattern formation is then numerically simulated by solving the weakly nonlinear thin film equation using finite difference with pseudo-staggered discretization and an adaptive time step. Initially, the pillar formation process in IL films is observed to be the same as that in PD films. Pillars initially form at random locations and their cross-section increases with time as the contact line expands on the top electrode. After the initial growth, for the same applied voltage and initial film thickness, the number of pillars on IL films is found to be significantly higher than that in PD films. The total number of pillars formed in 1 μm2 area of the domain in an IL film is almost 5 times more than that in a similar PD film for the conditions simulated. In addition, the pillar structure size in IL films is observed to be more sensitive to initial film thickness compared to PD films.

Graphical abstract: Electrohydrodynamic patterning of ultra-thin ionic liquid films

Article information

Article type
08 Nov 2014
19 Jan 2015
First published
20 Jan 2015
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Soft Matter, 2015,11, 2193-2202

Author version available

Electrohydrodynamic patterning of ultra-thin ionic liquid films

H. Nazaripoor, C. R. Koch, M. Sadrzadeh and S. Bhattacharjee, Soft Matter, 2015, 11, 2193 DOI: 10.1039/C4SM02477J

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