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Near-Field Electrospinning for Three-Dimensional Stacked Nanoarchitectures with High Aspect Ratios
journal contributionposted on 2019-12-04, 17:35 authored by Yang-Seok Park, Junyoung Kim, Jung Min Oh, Seungyoung Park, Seungse Cho, Hyunhyub Ko, Yoon-Kyoung Cho
Near-field electrospinning (NFES) was developed to overcome the intrinsic instability of traditional electrospinning processes and to facilitate the controllable deposition of nanofibers under a reduced electric field. This technique offers a straightforward and versatile method for the precision patterning of two-dimensional (2D) nanofibers. However, three-dimensional (3D) stacked structures built by NFES have been limited to either micron-scale sizes or special shapes. Herein, we report on a direct-write 3D NFES technique to construct self-aligned, template-free, 3D stacked nanoarchitectures by simply adding salt to the polymer solution. Numerical simulations suggested that the electric field could be tuned to achieve self-aligned nanofibers by adjusting the conductivity of the polymer solution. This was confirmed experimentally by using poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) solutions containing 0.1–1.0 wt% NaCl. Using 0.1 wt% NaCl, nanowalls with a maximum of 80 layers could be built with a width of 92 ± 3 nm, height of 6.6 ± 0.1 μm, and aspect ratio (height/width) of 72. We demonstrate the 3D printing of nanoskyscrapers with various designs, such as curved “nanowall arrays”, nano “jungle gyms,” and “nanobridges”. Further, we present an application of the 3D stacked nanofiber arrays by preparing transparent and flexible polydimethylsiloxane films embedded with Ag-sputtered nanowalls as 3D nanoelectrodes. The conductivity of the nanoelectrodes can be precisely tuned by adjusting the number of 3D printed layers, without sacrificing transmittance (98.5%). The current NFES approach provides a simple, reliable route to build 3D stacked nanoarchitectures with high-aspect ratios for potential application in smart materials, energy devices, and biomedical applications.