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Nanospiral Formation by Droplet Drying: One Molecule at a Time

Lei Wan, Li Li and Guangzhao Mao*

Author Affiliations

Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA

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Nanoscale Res Lett 2011, 6:49  doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9793-9

Published: 30 September 2010


We have created nanospirals by self-assembly during droplet evaporation. The nanospirals, 60–70 nm in diameter, formed when solvent mixtures of methanol and m-cresol were used. In contrast, spin coating using only methanol as the solvent produced epitaxial films of stripe nanopatterns and using only m-cresol disordered structure. Due to the disparity in vapor pressure between the two solvents, droplets of m-cresol solution remaining on the substrate serve as templates for the self-assembly of carboxylic acid molecules, which in turn allows the visualization of solution droplet evaporation one molecule at a time.

Atomic-force microscopy; Interfaces; Nanostructures; Patterning; Templates; Self-assembly