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Nanotechnology

Painting and shaping pillars

Patterning a surface with closely spaced nanometre-scale pillars can create structures that bend light, help to catalyse reactions and repel or attract fluids. But, typically, each variant pattern needs a new master mould, limiting scientists' ability to quickly test many possible patterns.

Credit: P. KIM & J. C. WEAVER, HARVARD UNIV.

Joanna Aizenberg, Philseok Kim and their colleagues at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, now show how to quickly transform a single master array into more complicated patterns. They deposit gold or platinum onto an array of nanopillars, and use the metal-covered posts as electrodes on which to deposit conducting polymers. By varying the deposition conditions, the researchers make tapered posts (pictured), overhangs and other three-dimensional structures with customizable diameters and spacings.

Nano Lett. doi:10.1021/nl200426g (2011)

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Painting and shaping pillars. Nature 472, 8 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/472008c

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