Development of a multiple-droplet drop-casting method
Spray coating is a commercial and low-cost technique for the fabrication of large-area coatings and thin films, but it is a stochastic process that is hard to control, as far as the fabrication of thin coatings and solid films is concerned. On the other hand, drop-casting is a facile and more controllable coating technique than spray coating, but its application is limited to small-area thin solid films and coatings.
The objective of a new work is, therefore, to study the feasibility of impinging an array of droplets, rather than just one droplet, to fabricate polymeric and other solution-processed thin films with larger surface areas than those produced by conventional drop-casting.To this end, four droplets of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)–polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) solution are released simultaneously and impinged on the four vertices of a square on a wettable solid surface to make a thin film.
A more controllable coating technique
The effect of the substrate texture on the spreading and the film formation process is studied. As a novel idea, the substrate is excited by ultrasonic vibration to improve the droplet spreading and coalescence. It is shown that as time elapses, the impinged droplets successfully coalesce and make a thin film. Surface morphology and roughness of the resulting PEDOT:PSS thin solid films show that, except on the edges, the resulting thin solid films are uniform.
This leads the scientists to conclude that the application of equal-sized and equally-spaced multiple droplets released simultaneously and impinged on vibrating substrates could be considered as a new coating technique, which has some of the benefits of the spray coating, but it is much more controllable than spray coating.
The study is published in: Journal of Coatings Technology and Research March 2018, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 271–280.