Science University Research Symposium (SURS)

Polystyrene Microsphere Self-Assembly on Hydrophilic Glass via Dip-Drawing

Publication Date



Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Chemistry and Physics, Department of

SURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Davon Ferrara

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation


Optical metamaterials are nanocomposite materials that are engineered to have interactions with light in a manner not inherent to each of its components. The fabrication of nanocomposites suitable for metamaterials, yet scalable and affordable for industrial production, is a challenge. This research attempts to begin developing a methodology to create high quality nanocomposites without the use of specialized equipment. Chemical and physical techniques using solutions rather than lithography are desirable. One method that has met with success is self-assembly of nano-and microparticulates on a substrate. Although simple in principle, implementing these techniques is difficult in practice due to the sensitivity to both environmental and laboratory conditions. In this work, we report on an initial attempt to implement a self-assembly procedure for depositing monolayers of polystyrene microspheres on a glass substrate. Soda-lime glass microscope slides were made hydrophilic via submersion in 6M Sodium Hydroxide for multiple hours and exposure to open flame for roughly 10 seconds. These methods combined yielded contact angles close to 5 degrees. Polystyrene spheres of 15 microns in radius were applied to the surface of these substrates via dip drawing, which involves submerging the substrate in a solution containing the microsphere and slowly pulling the substrate out. The microsphere solution was kept at 80oC during this process. Initial results indicate that this methodology can potentially produce ordered monolayers with further refinement and has the potential to be applied to smaller particles in the future.

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