Molecular Ordering in Layer-by-Layer Polyelectrolyte Films Studied by Sum-Frequency Vibrational Spectroscopy: The Effects of Drying Procedures

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Sum-Frequency Vibrational Spectroscopy (SFVS) has been used to investigate the effect of nitrogen-flow drying on the molecular ordering of Layer-by-Layer (LbL) films of poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) alternated with poly(styrene sulfonate) (PSS). We find that films dried by spontaneous water evaporation are more ordered and homogeneous than films dried by nitrogen flow. The latter are quite inhomogeneous and may have regions with highly disordered polymer conformation. We propose that drying by spontaneous water evaporation reduces the effect of drag by the drying front, while during nitrogen-flow drying the fast evaporation of water "freezes" the disordered conformation of adsorbed polyelectrolyte molecules. These findings are important for many applications of LbL films, since device performance usually depends on film morphology and its molecular structure.
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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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