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Growth of Polystyrene Pillars in Electric Field

Cheng, Pai-Ting, Zhou, Wenxiao, Yang, Fuqian, Lee, Sanboh
Langmuir 2019 v.35 no.14 pp. 4966-4975
activation energy, annealing, developmental stages, drugs, electric field, electrodes, electronics, films (materials), polystyrenes, temperature
Surface patterning on polymer films, which is a self-assembly process under the action of external and/or internal impetus, has a variety of applications, including drug delivery and flexible electronics. In this work, we study the growth of polystyrene pillars in the electric field for different combinations of annealing temperature, film thickness, and electrode separation (electric field intensity). There are five stages for the growth of the polystyrene pillars for all the configurations used in this work, including a nucleation stage, a linear growth stage, an acceleration stage in the pillar length prior to the contact between the top surface of a pillar and the upper electrode, a radial growth stage after the contact, and a stationary stage without further growth of the pillar. In the linear growth stage, there exist linear relationships between the pillar length and the annealing time and between the square of the pillar diameter and the annealing time. The activation energies for the rate processes controlling the radial growth and the length growth in the linear growth stage are 30.2 and 25.3 kJ/mol, respectively. There are two rate processes controlling the radial growth of the pillars: one is the field-induced flow of polymer through the polymer film to the roots of pillars and the other is the coalescence of pillars. The activation energy for the coalescence is 16.5 kJ/mol. The results obtained in this work offer a practical route to control the geometrical dimensions of polymer pillars through the processing parameters.