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Complex micropatterning of periodic structures on elastomeric surfaces



Arnaud Chiche, Christopher Stafford, J Cabral


We report a simple methodology to fabricate complex sub-micron periodic structures in poly(dimethylsiloxane) over large surface areas (several cm2). Single-frequency, uni- and multi-axial sinusoidal surface modulations, with tunable amplitude and wavelength, in the nano to micrometer range, are readily demonstrated. The technique builds upon a buckling instability of a stiff layer supported by an elastomeric membrane (reported earlier), induced by surface oxidation of a pre-stretched elastomer coupon followed by removal of the applied mechanical strain. Plasma oxidation yields model surfaces with single wavelengths, sub-micron periodicity, achieving a dynamic range from sub-200 nm to 10s um, which UV ozonolysis extends to 100s um. We find that a single 'dose' parameter (exposure time x power) characterizes surface conversion. The strain control provides unprecedented tunability of surface pattern amplitude and morphology, ranging from lines to complex periodic topologies induced under multi-axial deformation. We introduce a novel multiple strain/exposure and replication approach that extends surface topologies beyond lines, chevron and spinodal structures. The resulting structures exhibit a glass-like surface, which is easily grafted with self-assembled monolayers to enhance functionality. Applications of this inexpensive and fast methodology include stamps for soft lithography, micromolding, templating and surface patterning.
Soft Matter


buckling, wrinkling, plasma, oxidation, UVO, PDMS, patterning


Chiche, A. , Stafford, C. and Cabral, J. (2008), Complex micropatterning of periodic structures on elastomeric surfaces, Soft Matter, [online], (Accessed April 22, 2024)
Created July 9, 2008, Updated October 12, 2021