Formation of coffee-stain patterns at the nanoscale: The role of nanoparticle solubility and solvent evaporation rate

JG Zhang and J Milzetti and F Leroy and F Muller-Plathe, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 146, 114503 (2017).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4978284

When droplets of nanoparticle suspension evaporate from surfaces, they leave behind a deposit of nanoparticles. The mechanism of evaporation- induced pattern formation in the deposit is studied by molecular dynamics simulations for sessile nanodroplets. The influence of the interaction between nanoparticles and liquid molecules and the influence of the evaporation rate on the final deposition pattern are addressed. When the nanoparticle-liquid interaction is weaker than the liquid- liquid interaction, an interaction-driven or evaporation-induced layer of nanoparticles appears at the liquid-vapor interface and eventually collapses onto the solid surface to form a uniform deposit independently of the evaporation rate. When the nanoparticle-liquid and liquid-liquid interactions are comparable, the nanoparticles are dispersed inside the droplet and evaporation takes place with the contact line pinned at a surface defect. In such a case, a pattern with an approximate ring-like shape is found with fast evaporation, while a more uniform distribution is observed with slower evaporation. When the liquid-nanoparticle interaction is stronger than the liquid-liquid interaction, evaporation always occurs with receding contact line. The final deposition pattern changes from volcano-like to pancake-like with decreasing evaporation rate. These findings might help to design nanoscale structures like nanopatterns or nanowires on surface through controlled solvent evaporation. Published by AIP Publishing.

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