Nondestructive Mechanical Release of Ordered Polymer Microfiber Arrays from Porous Templates


  • The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Volkswagen Foundation within the framework of the thematic impetuses “Complex Materials: Cooperative Projects of the Natural, Engineering and Biosciences” and “Interplay between Molecular Conformations and Biological Function”, as well as technical support by A. Langner, K. Sklarek, B. Boettge, and Dr. X. Chen. K.S. thanks the International Max Planck Research School for Science and Technology of Nanostructures for financial support.


The fabrication of one-dimensional (1D) nanostructures and microstructures inside the pores of porous templates is intensively investigated. The release of these structures is commonly accomplished by etching and destroying the templates. The 1D nanostructures and microstructures tend to condense because of the occurrence of capillary forces during drying of the specimens. It is shown that highly ordered arrays of polymer microfibers can be easily detached from silanized porous templates by mechanical lift-off. This procedure leaves the templates intact, thus allowing their recycling, and does not involve the use of solutions or solvents, thus circumventing condensation. Therefore, mechanical lift-off may enable the up-scaling of template-based approaches to the fabrication of highly ordered assemblies of 1D nanostructures and microstructures.