Exploiting the Marangoni Effect to Initiate Instabilities and Direct the Assembly of Liquid Metal Filaments

C. A. Hartnett, I. Seric, K. Mahady, L. Kondic, S. Afkhami, J. D. Fowlkes, P. D. Rack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Utilization of the Marangoni effect in a liquid metal is investigated, focusing on initiating instabilities to direct material assembly via the Rayleigh-Plateau instability. Thin (2 nm) copper (Cu) films are lithographically patterned onto thick (12 nm) nickel (Ni) strips to induce a surface energy gradient at the maximum wavelength of the filament instability predicted by Rayleigh-Plateau instability analysis. The pattern is irradiated with an 18 ns pulsed laser such that the pattern melts and the resultant Ni-Cu surface tension gradient induces Marangoni flows due to the difference in surface energies. The experimental results, supported by extensive direct numerical simulations, demonstrate that the Marangoni flow exceeds the capillary flow induced by the initial geometry, guiding instabilities such that final nanoparticle location is directed toward the regions of higher surface energy (Ni regions). Our work shows a route for manipulation, by means of the Marangoni effect, to direct the evolution of the surface instabilities and the resulting pattern formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8123-8128
Number of pages6
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 22 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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