Hierarchical Surface Patterns upon Evaporation of a ZnO Nanofluid Droplet: Effect of Particle Morphology

Patryk Wasik, Christian Redeker, Thomas G. Dane, Annela Seddon, Hua Wu, Wuge Briscoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
378 Downloads (Pure)


Surface structures with tailored morphologies can be readily delivered by the evaporation-induced self-assembly process. It has been recently demonstrated that ZnO nanorods could undergo rapid chemical and morphological transformation into 3D complex structures of Zn(OH)2 nanofibers as a droplet of ZnO nanofluid dries on the substrate via a mechanism very different from that observed in the coffee ring effect. Here, we have investigated how the crystallinity and morphology of ZnO nanoparticles would affect the ultimate pattern formation. Three ZnO particles differing in size and shape were used, and their crystal structures were characterized by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Their dispersions were prepared by sonication in a mixture of isobutylamine and cyclohexane. Residual surface patterns were created by drop casting a droplet of the nanofluid on a silicon substrate. The residual surface patterns were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and microfocus grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (µGIXRD). Nanofluid droplets of the in-house synthesized ZnO nanoparticles resulted in residual surface patterns consisting of Zn(OH)2 nanofibers. However, when commercially acquired ZnO powders composed of crystals with various shapes and sizes were used as the starting material, Zn(OH)2 fibers were found covered by ZnO crystal residues that did not fully undergo the dissolution and recrystallization process during evaporation. The difference in the solubility of ZnO nanoparticles was linked to the difference in their crystallinity, as assessed using the Scherrer equation analysis of their XRD Bragg peaks. Our results show that the morphology of the ultimate residual pattern from evaporation of ZnO nanofluids can be controlled by varying the crystallinity of the starting ZnO nanoparticles which affects the nanoparticle dissolution process during evaporation.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date2 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2018


  • Evaporation-induced self-assembly
  • EISA
  • Residual surface patterns
  • Zinc oxide
  • Zinc hydroxide
  • Dissolution
  • Crystallinity


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