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Dynamical Contact Line Pinning and Zipping during Carbon Nanotube Coffee Stain Formation

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posted on 24.06.2014, 00:00 by Han Li, Tilman C. Hain, Andreas Muzha, Friedrich Schöppler, Tobias Hertel
Thin films of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) can be deposited onto solid substrates by evaporation-induced self-assembly. However, for this process to become more accessible to thin-film-based device fabrication requires optimization and a better understanding of the parameters and mechanisms governing nanoparticle film growth. Here, we focus on the role of contact-line (CL) dynamics at the edge of a receding meniscus for the deposition of thin nanoparticle films from colloidal suspensions. We find that film deposition rates can be increased by up to 2 orders of magnitude over earlier reports if parameters such as SWNT concentration, surfactant concentration, and height of the capillary bridge from which particles are deposited are properly adjusted. Most importantly we have also discovered that CL dynamics leading to the formation of striped films (coffee stains) are best described by dynamical pinning and kink-induced zipping. The existence of critical SWNT and surfactant concentrations as well as their role in determining stripe characteristics can be well accounted for by the proposed dynamical pinning and zipping model.