Self-Assembling Process for Fabricating Tailored Thin Films

Creating a self-assembling process for fabricating tailored thin films involved the development of a simple, soft coating process that forms optical, electrical, and magnetic thin films from self-assembled nanoparticles. The researchers -Hongyou Fan, Bruce Burckel, and Jeff Brinker from Sandia and Earl Stromberg of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics - developed a wet-solution-based process that uses self-assembly to create nanocomposite thin films. The properties of these films can easily be tuned by varying particle composition, sizes, shapes, packing density, and geometry.

For example, a film's index of refraction can be tuned by changing its nanoparticle composition, concentration, or both to exactly match a surface's required index of refraction. So an antireflective coating can be optimized for both optical glasses and high-index substrates, such as germanium windows. In addition, the Sandia-developed process makes it possible to engineer thin films with multiple functions. For instance, nanoparticle optical films can be made hydrophobic to avoid fogging and icing problems.

Run time 2.42 mins

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