The Marangoni effect causes liquids to flow toward localized regions of higher surface tension. In a thin film, such flow results in smooth thickness variations and may represent a practically useful route to manufacture topographically patterned surfaces. An especially versatile material for this application should be able to be spatially programmed to possess regions of higher or lower relative surface tension so that the direction of flow into or out of those areas could be directed with precision. To this end, we describe here a photopolymer whose melt-state surface tension can be selectively raised or lowered in the light exposed regions depending on the wavelength and dose of applied light. The direction of Marangoni flow into or out of the irradiated areas agreed with expected surface tension changes for photochemical transformations characterized by a variety of spectroscopic techniques and chromatographic experiments. The maximum film thickness variations achieved in this work are over 200 nm, which developed after only 5 min of thermal annealing. Both types of flow patterns can even be programmed sequentially into the same film and developed in a single thermal annealing step, which to our knowledge represents the first example of harnessing photochemical stimuli to bidirectionally control flow. (Figure Presented).
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© 2015 American Chemical Society.