Microstructures and multifunctional microsystems based on highly crosslinked polymers
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The work elucidates the novel physical and thermal properties of thin and ultra-thin films of crosslinked polymer and organized microstructures with a special emphasis on surface and interfacial effects and the structure-property relationships. Two major crosslinked polymer coatings have been thoroughly investigated: polymer microstructures fabricated by multi-laser interference lithography (IL), and plasma polymer coatings. We unveiled intriguing thermal properties of plasma polymer films originating from their physical state and exploiting the same for the design of ultrasensitve chemical sensors. A novel paradigm of surface coatings, single and bi-component periodic, porous crosslinked polymeric structures, has been introduced and thoroughly studied. Surface, interfacial, and mechanical properties of these novel class crosslinked polymer coatings clearly demonstrate the enormous potential of the IL microstructures as organized multicomponent polymer systems. When subjected to external or internal stresses the periodic porous structures can exhibit a sudden and dramatic pattern transformation resulting in remarkable change in the photonic, phononic and mechanical properties of these structures. Furthermore, the confinement of these instabilities to localized regions results in complex hierarchical structures. The two polymer coatings (plasma polymers and IL microstructures) with complementary attributes (such as periodic structure, vertical stratification, residual internal stresses, and high surface and interface tunability) enabled us to understand and design novel multifunctional polymer coatings.