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Layer-by-Layer Assembly of Multifunctional Nanocomposite Coatings

Presenter: J.C. Grunlan, Texas A&M University, USA


A variety of thin, functional coatings can be produced using layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly. Thin films, typically < 1µm thick, are created by alternately exposing a substrate to positively- and negatively-charged molecules or particles in water. This deposition process is repeated until the desired number of "bilayers" (or cationic-anionic pairs) is achieved. Two functionalities, electrically conductive films made with poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) and oxygen barrier films made with clay, are described here. An 8-bilayer coating, that is 200 nm thick, made from poly(styrene sulfonate)-doped PEDOT and polyethylenimine is transparent and has an electrical conductivity of 3 S/cm. The addition of carbon black and/or TiO2 nanoparticles to the top bilayers dramatically reduces the UV-sensitivity of these PEDOT-based assemblies without harming conductivity. These conductive films could be patterned using traditional photolithography to produce flexible electrodes or sensors. Coatings of sodium montmorrilonite clay and cationic polyacrylamide, that are 550 nm thick, have been produced with an oxygen transmission rate below 0.005 cm3/m2 day. These thin, transparent composites are a good candidate for foil replacement in food packaging and flexible electronics packaging. Some possible future work using this clay-polymer nano brick wall structure for thin film capacitors will also be mentioned along with preliminary work in multiferroic assemblies.

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