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Micro- and nanoparticles self-assembly for virtually defect-free, adjustable monolayers

Aubry, N., Singh, P., Janjua, M., Nudurupati, S.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2008 v.105 no.10 pp. 3711-3714
electric field, manufacturing, nanoparticles, particle size, product quality
As chips further shrink toward smaller scales, fabrication processes based on the self-assembly of individual particles into patterns or structures are often sought. One of the most popular techniques for two-dimensional assembly (self-assembled monolayers) is based on capillary forces acting on particles placed at a liquid interface. Capillarity-induced clustering, however, has several limitations: it applies to relatively large (radius > [almost equal to]10 μm) particles only, the clustering is usually non-defect-free and lacks long-range order, and the lattice spacing cannot be adjusted. The goal of the present article is to show that these shortcomings can be addressed by using an external electric field normal to the interface. The resulting self-assembly is capable of controlling the lattice spacing statically or dynamically, forming virtually defect-free monolayers, and manipulating a broad range of particle sizes and types including nanoparticles and electrically neutral particles.