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Diffusion-controlled, self-organized growth of symmetric wrinkling patterns



Jun Y. Chung, Adam J. Nolte, Christopher Stafford


Nature is particularly adept at creating ordered patterns ranging from the wind-shaped ripples on a sand dune to spiral patterns found in sea shells or galaxies. Scientists have been striving to design systems with the same level of richness and complexity, while at the same time maintaining a level of simplicity. Spontaneous formation of self-organized wrinkling patterns is a potential route for generating such tunable ordered patterns on surfaces across many length scales. Here, we demonstrate that surface wrinkling of UV/ozone (UVO) treated polymer films through osmotically driven swelling by solvent vapor sorption leads to unique and intriguing patterns, some of which have not been previously reported. The type of pattern and speed of its growth is coupled to the degree of UVO crosslinking and the rate of solvent diffusion into the film from a localized defect. This simple yet novel approach enables one to pattern complex surface structures over wide areas with high fidelity and regularity. These patterns are ideal templates for studying surface phenomena such as wettability and adhesion.
Advanced Materials


wrinkling, surface, swelling, polymer, thin film, patterning


Chung, J. , Nolte, A. and Stafford, C. (2009), Diffusion-controlled, self-organized growth of symmetric wrinkling patterns, Advanced Materials, [online], (Accessed March 4, 2024)
Created February 28, 2009, Updated October 12, 2021