Fabrication of Pillar Arrays

BY Nita Vaidya-Zannino

Learn how a team fabricated pillar arrays with different structure characteristics using BMF’s Projection Micro Stereolithography technology for research purposes.

Despite their simplicity, water droplets manifest a wide spectrum of forms and dynamics, which can be actuated using special texture at solid surfaces to achieve desired functions. Along this vein, natural or synthetic materials can be rendered water repellent, oleophobic, antifogging, anisotropic, etc.—all properties arising from an original design of the substrate and/or from the use of special materials promoting capillary or elastic forces at the droplet scale. Here, we report an original phenomenon occurring at the tip of asymmetric (half-flat, half-curved) pillars: Droplets reconfigure and get oriented on the curved side of these Janus tips. This local, geometry-driven effect, namely, tip-induced flipping of droplets, is found to be generic and have spectacular global consequences: Vast assemblies of Janus pillars enable a continuous, long-range, and fast self-transport of water harvested from fogs, which makes it possible to collect and concentrate droplets at different scales.

Fabrication of pillar arrays with different structure characteristics

We fabricated arrays of tilted pillars having a height gradient and a Janus structure opposing flat and curved surfaces. Samples are built using a projection micro stereolithography based 3D printing technique (BMF Nano Materials Technology Co., Ltd), with 10-μm resolution. In the fabrication process, the model, prebuilt with mapping software, is sliced into a sequence of 2D mask images of predetermined layer thickness followed by an exposure process. We iterate this step for each layer until the entire structure is created.

Read the full article here.