7_05/2011Polymeric Materials: Patterned Polymer Carpets (Small 5/2011)

For the development of polymer carpets as active devices for micro- and nanotechnology, a control of the polymer carpet morphology and especially control of the stimulus responsive polymer brush is needed. Here, we report on the first example for the fabrication of patterned polymer carpets. On a two-dimensional framework of fully crosslinked and chemically patterned nanosheets, polymer brushes of styrene and 4-vinyl pyridine were grafted by self-initiated surface photopolymerization and photografting (SIPGP). It was found that polymer grafting by SIPGP occurred over the entire nanosheets but with a preferred grafting on the amino functionalized nanosheet areas. This results in continuous polymer carpets with an intact nanosheet framework but with amplification of the chemical patterning into a three dimensional topography of the grafted polymer brush. In the case of negative patterned nanosheets, the patterned carpet could be prepared as freestanding ultrathin membranes. Furthermore, swelling experiments with poly(4-vinyl pyridine) carpets showed that the patterns induces a directional buckling of the flexible polymer carpet. This may open the possibility of the development of micro- or nanoactuator devices with anisotropic responds upon environmental changes.

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