Evaporation-driven colloidal cluster assembly using droplets on superhydrophobic fractal-like structures

Carola Seyfert*, Erwin J. W. Berenschot, Niels R. Tas, Arturo Susarrey-Arce, Alvaro Marin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
79 Downloads (Pure)


Microparticles can be considered building units for functional systems, but their assembly into larger structures typically involves complex methods. In this work, we show that a large variety of macro-agglomerate clusters (“supra-particles”) can be obtained, by systematically varying the initial particle concentration in an evaporating droplet, spanning more than 3 decades. The key is the use of robust superhydrophobic substrates: in this study we make use of a recently discovered kind of patterned surface with fractal-like microstructures which dramatically reduce the contact of the droplet with the solid substrate. Our results show a clear transition from quasi-2D to 3D clusters as a function of the initial particle concentration, and a clear transition from unstable to stable 3D spheroids as a function of the evaporation rate. The origin of such shape transitions can respectively be found in the dynamic wetting of the fractal-like structure, but also in the enhanced mechanical stability of the particle agglomerate as its particle packing fraction increases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-515
Number of pages10
JournalSoft matter
Issue number3
Early online date24 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2021


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