Strain engineering as a method for manufacturing micro- and; nano- scale responsive particles
Simpson, Brian Keith, Jr.
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Strain engineering is used as a means of manufacturing micro- and nano- scale particles with the ability to reversibly alter their geometry from three dimensional tubes to two dimensional flat layers. These particles are formed from a bi-layer of two dissimilar materials, one of which is the elastomeric material polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), deposited under stress on a sacrificial substrate. Upon the release of the bi-layer structure from the substrate, interfacial residual stress is released resulting in the formation of tubes or coils. These particles possess the ability to dramatically alter their geometry and, consequently, change some properties that are reversible and can be triggered by a stimulus. This work focuses on the material selection and manufacturing of the bi-layer structures used to create the responsive particles and methods for characterizing and controlling the responsive nature of the particles. Furthermore, the potential of using these particles for a capture/release application is explored, and a systematic approach to scale up the manufacturing process for such particles is provided. This includes addressing many of the problems associated with fabricating ultra-thin layers, tuning the size of the particles, understanding how the stress accumulated at the interface of a bi-layer structure can be used as a tool for triggering a response as well as developing methods (i.e. experiments and applications) that allow the demonstration of this response.