We investigate the properties of latex particle templates required to optimize the development of ordered liquid bridge networks in evaporative lithography. These networks are key precursors in the assembly of solutions of conducting nanoparticles into large, optically transparent, and conducting microwire networks on substrates (Vakarelski, I. U.; Chan, D. Y. C.; Nonoguchi, T.; Shinto, H.; Higashitani, K. Phys. Rev. Lett., 2009, 102, 058303). An appropriate combination of heat treatment and oxygen plasma etching of a close-packed latex particle monolayer is shown to create open-spaced particle templates which facilitates the formation of ordered fully connected liquid bridge networks that are critical to the formation of ordered microwire networks. Similar results can also be achieved if non-close-packed latex particle templates with square or honeycomb geometries are used. The present results have important implications for the development of the particulate templates to control the morphology of functional microwire networks by evaporative lithography.
Vol. 25, no. 23 (Dec 2009), pp. 13311-13314