Electrostatic shape control

Surface tension is useful for producing round graphite shells.  Shells of more general shape can be formed through the application of electrostatic force.  This principle can be proven most conveniently by increasing the bias of the melt during the usual procedure for synthesizing spherical shells.  This has been tried, producing oblong origami shells.  The schematic, below, shows how melt-grown graphite might be patterned with arbitrarily distributed asperities.


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Electrostatic patterning

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The technique for electrostatically forming nanoscale asperities in liquid metal surfaces has already been implemented in the liquid metal ion sources used in commercial focused ion milling machines[6].  It may be possible to pattern graphene films with arrays of electron field emitters through application of electrostatic force.  Other applications for electric field patterning will be in the formation of perforated structures like filters, or even electronic circuits.