Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2016, vol 18, 10, pp. 7367-7373
We report the formation of breath-figure (BF) patterns with amino-functionalized cavities in a BF incompatible polystyrene (PS) by incorporating functionalized alumina nanoparticles. The particles were amphiphilic-modified and the modifier ratio was regulated to achieve a specific hydrophobic/hydrophilic balance of the particles. The influence of the physical and chemical properties of the particles like particle concentration, the hydrophobic/hydrophilic balance, etc., on particle dispersion in solvents having different polarity and the corresponding changes in the BF patterns have been studied. The amphiphilic-modified alumina particles could successfully assist the BF mechanism, generating uniform patterns in polystyrene films with the cavity walls decorated with the functionalized alumina particles, even from water-miscible solvents like THF. The possibility of fabricating free-standing micropatterned films by casting and drying the suspension under ambient conditions was also demonstrated. The present method opens up a simple route for producing functionalized BF cavities, which can be post-modified by a chemical route for various biological applications.