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Electrospinning Nanofibers as Uniaxially Aligned Arrays and Layer-by-Layer Stacked Films

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  • This work has been supported in part by an AFOSR-DURINT subcontract from SUNY Buffalo, a Career Award from the NSF (DMR-9983893), and a research Fellowship from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Y. X. is a Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow.

Abstract

The conventional procedure for electrospinning has been modified to generate nanofibers as uniaxially aligned arrays over large areas. The key to the success of this method was the use of a collector composed of two conductive strips separated by an insulating gap of variable width. Directed by electrostatic interactions, the charged nanofibers were stretched to span across the gap and became uniaxially aligned arrays. Two types of gaps have been demonstrated: void gaps and gaps made of a highly insulating material. When a void gap was used, the nanofibers could readily be transferred onto the surfaces of other substrates for various applications. When an insulating substrate was involved, the electrodes could be patterned in various designs on the solid insulator. In both cases, the nanofibers could be conveniently stacked into multi-layered architectures with controllable hierarchical structures. This new version of electrospinning has already been successfully applied to a range of different materials that include organic polymers, carbon, ceramics, and composites.

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