Three-dimensional lithography by elasto-capillary engineering of filamentary materials

Sameh H. Tawfick, José Bico, Steven Barcelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Surface textures with three-dimensional (3D) architectures demonstrate the ability to control interfacial, optical, chemical, and mechanical properties. Potential applications range from device-scale biomolecule sensing to meter-scale optical or nonwetting coatings. In recent years, capillary forming has become a versatile and scalable approach to creating complex geometries at the nano- and micron scales. Surface tension of a liquid can deform straight pillars and assemble them into 3D architectures with predetermined orientation, where short-range adhesion forces stabilize the final forms. A variety of techniques have been demonstrated for carbon nanotubes and polymer filamentary materials to fabricate useful devices and textures. We discuss these materials and processes as well as the underlying elasto-capillary physics. We indicate the need for new simulation tools to design and engineer elasto-capillary transformations and methods to increase their throughput toward scalable manufacturing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-114
Number of pages7
JournalMRS Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 11 2016


  • biomimetic (assembly)
  • filamentary
  • lithography
  • nanostructure
  • self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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