Strain-release assembly of nanowires on stretchable substrates.
A simple yet effective method for assembly of highly aligned nanowires (NWs) on stretchable substrates is reported. In this method, NWs were first transferred to a strained stretchable substrate. After the strain was released, the NWs aligned in the transverse direction and the area coverage of the NWs on the substrate increased. This method can be applied to any NWs deposited on a stretchable film and can be repeated multiple times to increase the alignment and density of the NWs. For silver (Ag) and silicon (Si) NWs on poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) substrates, the probability of NW alignment increased from 29% to 90% for Ag NWs, and from 25% to 88% for Si NWs after two assembly steps; the density increased by 60% and 75% for the Ag and Si NWs, respectively. The large-strain elasticity of the substrate and the static friction between the NWs and the substrate play key roles in this assembly method. We find that a model that takes into account the volume incompressibility of PDMS reliably predicts the degree of NW alignment and NW density. The utility of this assembly method was demonstrated by fabricating a strain sensor array composed of aligned Si NWs on a PDMS substrate, with a device yield of 95%.
Xu, F; Durham, JW; Wiley, BJ; Zhu, Y
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