Stability of ultrathin nanocomposite polymer films controlled by the embedding of gold nanoparticles.

Thumbnail Image
Amarandei, George
Clancy, Ian
O'Dwyer, Colm
Arshak, Arousian
Corcoran, David
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Published Version
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
Thin and ultrathin polymer films combined with nanoparticles (NPs) are of significant interest as they are used in a host of industrial applications. In this paper we describe the stability of such films (hpoly ≤ 30 nm) to dewetting, specifically, how the development of a spinodal instability in a composite NP–polymer layer is controlled by the embedding of Au NPs. At working temperatures (T = 170 °C) above the polymer glass transition temperature (Tg ≈ 100 °C) the absence of Au NPs leads to film rupture by nucleation dewetting, while their presence over a large surface area enhances the development of a spinodal instability without destroying the film continuity. When the NPs embed, the surface undulations are suppressed. The dynamics change from an unstable to a stable state, and the thin composite NP–polymer layer returns to a flat configuration, while the wavelength of the pattern remains constant. Moreover, we demonstrate from a thermodynamic perspective that NPs will remain on the surface or embed in the polymer film depending on their free energy, which is determined by the NP interactions with the underlying polymer, the native SiOx layer, and the Si substrate.
Dewetting , Embedding , Nanoparticles , Thin polymer films
Amarandei, G., Clancy, I., O’Dwyer, C., Arshak, A. and Corcoran, D. (2014) 'Stability of Ultrathin Nanocomposite Polymer Films Controlled by the Embedding of Gold Nanoparticles', ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 6(23), pp. 20758-20767. doi: 10.1021/am5049543
© 2014 American Chemical Society. This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see