Sameh Tawfick, Michael De Volder, and A. John Hart. Langmuir 27(10):6389-6394, 2011. []



We demonstrate the fabrication of horizontally aligned carbon nanotube (HA-CNT) networks by spatially programmable folding, which is induced by self-directed liquid infiltration of vertical CNTs. Folding is caused by a capillary buckling instability and is predicted by the elastocapillary buckling height, which scales with the wall thickness as t3/2. The folding direction is controlled by incorporating folding initiators at the ends of the CNT walls, and the initiators cause a tilt during densification which precedes buckling. By patterning these initiators and specifying the wall geometry, we control the dimensions of HA-CNT patches over 2 orders of magnitude and realize multilayered and multidirectional assemblies. Multidirectional HA-CNT patterns are building blocks for custom design of nanotextured surfaces and flexible circuits.



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