"Wrinkled hard skins on polymers created by Focused Ion Beam", PNAS , January 2007

Ashkan Vaziri's picture

A stiff skin forms on surface areas of a flat polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) upon exposure to focused ion beam (FIB) leading to ordered surface wrinkles. By controlling the FIB fluence and area of exposure of the PDMS, one can create a variety of patterns in the wavelengths in the micrometer to submicrometer range, from simple one-dimensional wrinkles to peculiar and complex hierarchical nested wrinkles. Examination of the chemical composition of the exposed PDMS reveals that the stiff skin resembles amorphous silica. Moreover, upon formation, the stiff skin tends to expand in the direction perpendicular to the direction of ion beam irradiation. The consequent mismatch strain between the stiff skin and the PDMS substrate buckles the skin, forming the wrinkle patterns. The induced strains in the stiff skin are estimated by measuring the surface length in the buckled state. Estimates of the thickness and stiffness of the stiffened surface layer are estimated by using the theory for buckled films on compliant substrates. The method provides an effective and inexpensive technique to create wrinkled hard skin patterns on surfaces of polymers for various applications. Click here for access to the full article. See also the press release: Applied scientists create wrinkled 'skin' on polymers