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Keywords:

  • Breath figures;
  • Nanoparticle assembly;
  • Polymer scaffolds;
  • Porous materials;
  • Self-assembly;
  • Templates;
  • Thin films, microstructured;
  • Thin films, nanostructured

Abstract

This review describes the use of breath figures as a templating method for the fabrication of self-assembled polymeric- and nanoparticle-based micro- and nanostructures. If moist air is blown over a solution of a polymer or stabilized nanoparticles in an organic solvent, such as carbon disulfide, benzene, or chloroform, evaporative cooling leads to the formation of water droplets on the liquid surface. The monodisperse droplets arrange into a hexagonal array and sink into the polymer solution. Removal of the solvent and the water leaves an imprint of the water droplets as a hollow, air-filled, hexagonally ordered, polymeric bubble array. Progress in the field of breath-figure formation is reviewed. The application of breath figures for the generation of functional structures in chemistry and materials science is discussed.