Materials Science

When wrinkling is a good thing

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Science  21 Aug 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6250, pp. 839
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6250.839-a

Hierarchical wrinkles made by three generations of sequential wrinkling


A common feature of gecko feet, which show strong adhesion to many surfaces, and the lotus leaf, which can repel water, is a hierarchical, patterned surface that extends across many length scales with controlled regions of order and disorder. Textured surfaces can be synthetically mimicked, but can require complex lithographic methods to make. Lee et al. use a hierarchical wrinkling approach to achieve large-scale patterning, where both the wavelength and orientation of previous-generation wrinkles can be preserved and built upon. Reactive ion etching creates a skin layer on a polystyrene substrate, leading to wrinkling. By adjusting the etching time, they control the wavelength of the wrinkles, with the orientation tuned by prestretching the substrate in one or two directions.

Nano Lett. 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b02394 (2015).

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