Curved polymer nanodiscs by wetting nanopores of anodic aluminum oxide templates with polymer nanospheres†
Although nanostructures with diverse morphologies have been fabricated, it is still a great challenge to prepare anisotropic two-dimensional (2-D) nanostructures, especially non-planar disc-like nanostructures. In this work, we develop a simple method to prepare curved polymer nanodiscs with regular sizes by wetting polymer nanospheres in the nanopores of anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) templates. Polystyrene (PS) nanospheres are first fabricated by using a non-solvent-assisted template wetting method. By annealing the PS nanospheres in the nanopores of AAO templates, curved PS nanodiscs can be produced. The length and morphology of the curved PS nanodiscs can be controlled by the wetting conditions such as the annealing temperatures and times. For some stacked nanospheres, the annealing process can result in the formation of helix-like nanostructures. To demonstrate the universality of this work, this approach is also applied to poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), another common polymer, and similar results are obtained.