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Nonuniform Growth of Composite Layer-by-Layer Assembled Coatings via Three-Dimensional Expansion of Hydrophobic Magnetite Nanoparticles

Voronin, Denis V., Grigoriev, Dmitry, Möhwald, Helmuth, Shchukin, Dmitry G., Gorin, Dmitry A.
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2015 v.7 no.51 pp. 28353-28360
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, chemical elements, coatings, electrolytes, hydrophilicity, hydrophobicity, magnetite, models, nanocomposites, nanoparticles, quartz, scanning electron microscopy, solvents, washing
Nanocomposite coatings are promising for a range of practical applications, and layer-by-layer assembly (LbL) is a versatile tool for nanocomposite formation. However, conventional LbL is a quite laborious procedure taking a lot of time to reach a sufficient thickness of the coatings required for practical applications. Herein, we proposed a novel variant of the LbL approach based on the deposition of hydrophilic polyelectrolyte molecules from a polar solvent and hydrophobic magnetite nanoparticles (NPs) from a nonpolar dispersion medium with an intermediate washing in the same polar solvent. The composite multilayers formed in this way exhibit exponential growth of the thickness and mass. On the basis of quartz crystal microbalance (QCM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and surface profile measurements, we propose a model describing the driving force of multilayer formation and the factors leading to nonlinear growth of their mass and thickness. The results allow one to expand the understanding of the mechanism of the LbL assembly in order to form multifunctional nanocomposites in a more efficient way.