A review on suppression and utilization of the coffee-ring effect

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Abstract

Evaporation of sessile droplets containing non-volatile solutes dispersed in a volatile solvent leaves behind ring-like solid stains. As the volatile species evaporates, pinning of the contact line gives rise to capillary flows that transport non-volatile solutes to the contact line. This phenomenon, called the coffee-ring effect, compromises the overall performance of industrially relevant manufacturing processes involving evaporation such as printing, biochemical analysis, manufacturing of nano-structured materials through colloidal and macromolecular patterning. Various approaches have been developed to suppress this phenomenon, which is otherwise difficult to avoid. The coffee-ring effect has also been leveraged to prepare new materials through convection induced assembly. This review underlines not only the strategies developed to suppress the coffee-ring effect but also sheds light on approaches to arrive at novel processes and materials. Working principles and applicability of these strategies are discussed together with a critical comparison.