Synthesis of Colloidal SU-8 Polymer Rods Using Sonication

Carla Fernandez-Rico, Taiki Yanagishima, Arran Curran, Dirk GAL Aarts, and Roel PA Dullens

Adv. Mater. 2019 31 1807514

The bulk synthesis of fluorescent colloidal SU-8 polymer rods with tunable dimensions is described. The colloidal SU-8 rods are prepared by shearing an emulsion of SU-8 polymer droplets and then exposing the resulting non-Brownian rods to ultrasonic waves, which breaks them into colloidal rods with typical lengths of 3.5-10 mu m and diameters of 0.4-1 mu m. The rods are stable in both aqueous and apolar solvents, and by varying the composition of apolar solvent mixtures both the difference in refractive index and mass density between particles and solvent can be independently controlled. Consequently, these colloidal SU-8 rods can be used in both 3D confocal microscopy and optical trapping experiments while carefully tuning the effect of gravity. This is demonstrated by using confocal microscopy to image the liquid crystalline phases and the isotropic-nematic interface formed by the colloidal SU-8 rods and by optically trapping single rods in water. Finally, the simultaneous confocal imaging and optical manipulation of multiple SU-8 rods in the isotropic phase is shown.