Hybrid Core-Shell Nanowire Forests as Self-Selective Chemical Connectors
Conventional connectors utilize mechanical, magnetic, or electrostatic interactions to enable highly specific and reversible binding of the components (i.e., mates) for a wide range of applications. As the connectors are miniaturized to small scales, a number of shortcomings, including low binding strength, high engagement/disengagement energies, difficulties with the engagement, fabrication challenges, and the lack of reliability are presented that limit their successful operation. Here, we report unisex, chemical connectors based on hybrid, inorganic/organic nanowire (NW) forests that utilize weak van der Waals bonding that is amplified by the high aspect ratio geometric configuration of the NWs to enable highly specific and versatile binding of the components. Uniquely, NW chemical connectors exhibit high macroscopic shear adhesion strength (163 N/cm2) with minimal binding to non-self-similar surfaces, anisotropic adhesion behavior (shear to normal strength ratio 25), reusability (27 attach/detach cycles), and efficient binding for both micro- and macroscale dimensions.