Template-assisted materials engineering
Recent developments in colloidal assembly have led to novel fabrication techniques for nano- and microscopic materials of interest to many fields of science and engineering. The design of more complex processes and applications requires a greater variety of versatile preparation techniques. In this thesis, we present the application of Template-Assisted Materials Engineering (TAME) to obtain porous polymeric materials using various types of colloids and explore potential applications of the resulting porous materials.
TAME is used to fabricate three-dimensional (3D) colloidal assemblies within geometric confinement. Further, we show that TAME can be used as a secondary template to form porous polymeric materials retaining the shape of the templating confinement. Advantages of utilizing TAME in colloidal assembly are the precise positioning and sizing of colloidal assemblies. For porous materials, advantages include control over pore size and distribution, porosity, shape, and materials. Building on these advantages, the TAME technique is employed to fabricate multi-sectional porous polymeric fibers with controlled sections of varying pore structure and is subsequently extended to synthesizing a multi-stage catalytic membrane reactor using catalyst-coated, surface-anisotropic colloids. Further, the versatility of the TAME approach is illustrated by applying it to the fabrication of macroscopic, porous materials using a biodegradable polymer and PDMS. Last but not least, TAME is applied to assemble 3D colloidal crystals for the study of photonic properties using fluorescently tagged and novel, magnetically enhanced colloids.
Overall, TAME is shown to be a versatile, yet precise fabrication technique that can be employed in the preparation of materials for a wide range of applications. In addition, the intrinsic control over the colloidal assembly and the resulting porous materials make TAME an effective and efficient method for obtaining functional 3D materials.
0542: Chemical engineering
0794: Materials science