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Published June 1, 2000 | public
Journal Article Open

Morphology of liquid microstructures on chemically patterned surfaces


We study the equilibrium conformations of liquid microstructures on flat but chemically heterogeneous substrates using energy minimization computations. The surface patterns, which establish regions of different surface energy, induce deformations of the liquid–solid contact line. Depending on the geometry, these deformations either promote or impede capillary breakup and bulge formation. The contact angles of the liquid on the hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions, as well as the pattern geometry and volume of liquid deposited, strongly affect the equilibrium shapes. Moreover, due to the small scale of the liquid features, the presence of chemical or topological surface defects significantly influence the final liquid shapes. Preliminary experiments with arrays of parallel hydrophilic strips produce shapes resembling the simulated forms. These encouraging results provide a basis for the development of high resolution lithography by direct wet printing.

Additional Information

©2000 American Institute of Physics. (Received 11 October 1999; accepted 24 February 2000) This project is funded by the Electronic Technology Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as part of the Molecular Level Printing Program. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the Austrian Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung for a postdoctoral fellowship (A.A.D.) and the Eastman Kodak Corporation for a graduate fellowship (S.M.M.). Dr. C. Monnereau and Dr. N. Pittet of the Department of Chemical Engineering designed and built the dip-coating apparatus. SURFACE EVOLVER was developed by Kenneth Brakke of Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA.


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