Updated 07/10/2024

Improvement of Polystyrene Nano-Spheres Density and Uniformity of Mechanical Organization on PDMS Substrates Lotem Kitaroo and Sharon Luzky

Current situation

The current situation in the project involves the challenge of achieving a dense and uniform layer of polystyrene nanospheres on PDMS substrates for various applications like nanoelectronics and biomedical devices. Despite systematic processes including mechanical rubbing and sputtering, , and despite the expectations from a thermodynamic point of view and the desire for low energy, SEM images consistently show sparse distribution and noticeable gaps between the nanospheres, impacting their effectiveness. A systemic issue is indicated by this pattern across all samples and durations, leading to a proposed change in the deposition method to address the observed shrinkage and lack of uniformity.


Reduced Functional Surface Area: The gaps between the nanospheres reduce the overall surface area available for interaction, which can diminish the effectiveness of the nanosphere layer in applications requiring high surface contact.

Inconsistent Performance: Non-uniform density can lead to variability in performance, making it difficult to predict and control the behavior of the nanospheres in their intended applications.

Weak Mechanical Properties: A sparsely distributed layer may have weaker mechanical integrity, leading to potential issues such as cracking, peeling, or other forms of mechanical failure under stress.

Impaired Optical Properties: In applications relying on optical properties, such as sensors or imaging devices, the non-uniform layer can scatter light unevenly, reducing clarity and accuracy.

Challenges in Reproducibility: Achieving consistent results across different samples becomes challenging, impacting the reliability and reproducibility of experimental outcomes and applications.

Lower Adhesion: Gaps and sparse distribution can lead to lower adhesion between the nanospheres and the substrate, potentially causing the coating to detach or degrade over time.

Ideal final result

The ultimate goal is to achieve a uniform and densely packed arrangement of polystyrene nanospheres on PDMS substrates, with no gaps between the nanospheres. By ensuring a consistent and tightly packed layer, we aim to enhance the effectiveness and performance of the nanospheres in various applications, including nanoelectronics, biomedical devices, and surface coatings.


1. Understanding the Source of the Problem: The primary gap is identifying the root cause of the lack of density and the spaces between the nanospheres. Key questions include whether the source is the shrinking of the nanospheres, their movement apart due to the structural arrangement, or the presence of certain repulsive forces.

2. Assessing Critical Stages: Once the source of the problem is understood, it is necessary to determine which stage of the process contributes to the issue. This assessment involves deciding whether to change the rubbing parameters or the sedimentation method/parameters.

3. Implementing Changes: Based on the assessment, the next step is to implement the identified changes in two separate experiments:

  - Experiment 1: Modify the rubbing parameters while keeping the sedimentation method unchanged.

  - Experiment 2: Change the sedimentation method while keeping the rubbing parameters unchanged.

4. Evaluating Changes: After making the changes, take SEM images of the samples and perform thorough processing and analysis. Evaluate the changes in the density of the nanospheres and the spaces between them to determine the effectiveness of each modification.

5. Analyzing Outcomes: Assess the impact of the changes on the density and uniformity of the nanospheres. Determine which modification—changing the rubbing parameters or the sedimentation method—most effectively addresses the lack of density and the spaces between the nanospheres, and understand how these changes impact the overall problem.

Problem statement

The current project faces a critical issue of achieving a dense and uniform layer of polystyrene nanospheres on PDMS substrates, impacting their functionality and performance in various applications.

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Anatoly Agulyansky avatar

Anatoly Agulyansky


It is a great job, guys. You analyzed the problem. used creative thinking tools, generated innovative ideas and tested them.

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