Highly-ordered nanostructures with individual features a million times smaller than a single strand of hair, are the focus of intense research due to their unique properties and wide ranging application from self-cleaning surfaces to electronics. Periodic metallic nano-structures, particularly prepared in gold or silver are especially important in optics-based applications such as anti-reflection coatings and in bio-sensing applications.
To meet the growing demand for such materials, simple, cost effective and reproducible methods for preparing ordered metallic nanostructures over macroscopic areas are needed, and this is a major challenge to the field.
Tia Keyes et al. report in this article published in Advanced Engineering Materials, a unique and versatile approach to create ordered silver nanostructures that not only extend over a cm2 area, but allow for feature shape alteration in a simple and inexpensive manner. This is achieved by using a nanostructured polymer mould onto which metal can be deposited and, later, peeled off, thus giving them the possibility to alter the nanofeature’s geometry by stretching.
Silver deposition was achieved using a simple silver reduction reaction using Tollens’ reagent. Electron microscopy confirmed the structural integrity of nanoarray after peeling off the template and simple reflectance measurements confirmed the extended order of the array of macroscopic (mm to cm) length-scales. The reported method thus holds great potential for expanding the application range of metallic nanostructures by offering simple and accessible methods of fabrication of arrays of various sizes and shapes.