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Fast Drying Produces Order

skin1.jpgA collaboration of experimentalists and theorists at the Chicago MRSEC has discovered a new, general route for creating nanoparticle monolayers that retain order across millions of particles, without holes, while staying compact over macroscopic distances[1].

This new method exploits the observation that fast initial drying drives the nanoparticles into an interface between the suspending solvent and the surrounding air, where they form a two dimensional, single-particle-thin skin. This skin drapes itself over the substrate during the final drying stage, accommodating roughness, curvature, and even holes without losing integrity.

[1] Kinetically-Driven Self-Assembly of Highly-Ordered Nanocrystal Monolayers, Terry P. Bigioni, Xiao-Min Lin, Toan T. Nguyen, Eric Corwin, Thomas A. Witten, and Heinrich M. Jaeger, Nature Materials 5, 265-270 (2006).