We apply an elastic field to the substrate to guide the self-assembly of domain patterns on its surface. The effect of arbitrary three dimensional external loading is found to be characterized by a single two dimensional parameter—a surface stain field of the substrate. A non-uniform strain field significantly influences the size, shape and orientation of self-assembled features, and may induce the formation of pattern colonies. It is shown that a pattern orientates normal to the strain gradient direction. An applied load anchors the position of a self-assembled pattern relative to the substrate, where a colony boundary resides on the strain gradient region. The work suggests a method of strain field design to make various monolayer patterns for nanofabrication.

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