Thin-films patterned with complex motifs are of fundamental interest because of their advanced optical, mechanical and electronic properties, but fabrication of these materials remains challenging. Self-organization strategies, such as immersion controlled reaction-diffusion patterning, have shown great potential for production of patterned thin-films. However, the autonomous nature of such processes limits controllable pattern customizability and complexity. Here, it is demonstrated that photography inspired manipulation processes can overcome this limitation to create highly-complex tapestries of micropatterned films (MPF's). Inspired by classical photographic processes, MPF's are developed, bleached, exposed, fixed, and contoured into user-defined shapes and photographic toning reactions are used to convert the chemical composition MPF's, while preserving the original stripe patterns. By applying principles of composite photography, highly complex tapestries composed of multiple MPF layers are designed, where each layer can be individually manipulated into a specific shape and composition. By overcoming fundamental limitations, this synergistic approach broadens the design possibilities of reaction-diffusion processes, furthering the potential of self-organization strategies for the development of complex materials.

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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) , Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
Adv. Sci.
Self-Organizing Matter

van Campenhout, C., Bistervels, M., Rietveld, M., Schoenmaker, H., Kamp, M., & Noorduin, W. (2024). Designing Complex Tapestries with Photography‐Inspired Manipulation of Self‐Organized Thin‐Films. Adv. Sci., 2401625: 1–7. doi:10.1002/advs.202401625