Electric fields generate transverse flows near electrodes that sweep colloidal particles into densely packed assemblies. We interpret this behavior in terms of electrohydrodynamic motion stemming from distortions of the field by the particles that alter the body force distribution in the electrode charge polarization layer. A scaling analysis shows how the action of the applied electric field generates fluid motion that carries particles toward one another. The resulting fluid velocity is proportional to the square of the applied field and decreases inversely with frequency. Experimental measurements of the particle aggregation rate accord with the electrohydrodynamic theory over a wide range of voltages and frequencies.
The patterning of ceramic thin films is of great interest for use in MEMS and other applications. However, the complex chemistries of certain materials make the use of traditional photolithography techniques prohibitive. In this paper, a number of low-cost, high throughput techniques for the patterning of ceramic thin films derived from chemical solution precursors, such as sol-gels and ceramic slurries, are presented. A particular emphasis is placed on methods that are derived from soft lithographic methods using elastomer molds. Two categories of techniques are discussed: first, the focus is on methods that rely on the principles of confinement within the physical features of the mold to define the pattern on the substrate surface. Then, subtractive patterning techniques that rely on transferring a pattern to a spin-cast, large-area continuous thin film are described. While most techniques have been demonstrated with fidelities on the order of 100 nm, their inability to precisely register and align the patterns as part of a hierarchical fabrication scheme have thus far hindered their commercial implementation.