18 April 2016 Colloidal crystal formation: nano-dewetting and the assembly process
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Self-assembly of colloidal particles is a promising approach for fabrication of three-dimensional periodic structures which are especially interesting for photonic crystals. This approach is simple and cheap, but it still suffers under the existence of many intrinsic defects. The efforts to improve the self-assembly process have led to many deposition methods with a different degree of controllability. One of the best fabrication techniques is the capillary deposition method leading to non-scattered photon propagation in the order of 80 μm. To improve understanding of the selfassembly process we investigate the stages of the process separately. The most important stage is likely the deposition of suspended particles into a dense arrangement forming a crystal. This is studied spectroscopically. Another crucial stage is the drying of colloidal crystal which is connected with a continuous shrinkage process. Several minutes after starting the drying, a surprise occurs: The system expands shortly before it shrinks monotonously until reaching its final state after about one day. We called this “v“-event because of the characteristic shape of the curve for the Bragg peak. The event is assigned to the start of a nano-dewetting process occurring at the colloidal particles.
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Frank Marlow, Frank Marlow, Mulda Muldarisnur, Mulda Muldarisnur, "Colloidal crystal formation: nano-dewetting and the assembly process", Proc. SPIE 9885, Photonic Crystal Materials and Devices XII, 98850S (18 April 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2230667; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2230667

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