Three-Dimensionally Ordered Array of Air Bubbles in a Polymer Film

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Science  06 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5514, pp. 79-83
DOI: 10.1126/science.1057887

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We report the formation of a three-dimensionally ordered array of air bubbles of monodisperse pore size in a polymer film through a templating mechanism based on thermocapillary convection. Dilute solutions of a simple, coil-like polymer in a volatile solvent are cast on a glass slide in the presence of moist air flowing across the surface. Evaporative cooling and the generation of an ordered array of breath figures leads to the formation of multilayers of hexagonally packed water droplets that are preserved in the final, solid polymer film as spherical air bubbles. The dimensions of these bubbles can be controlled simply by changing the velocity of the airflow across the surface. When these three-dimensionally ordered macroporous materials have pore dimensions comparable to the wavelength of visible light, they are of interest as photonic band gaps and optical stop-bands.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: mohan{at}

  • Present address: Department of Polymer Science, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS 39406, USA.

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