Hydrophobically-modified polyelectrolyte for improved oxygen barrier in nanobrick wall multilayer thin films

The influence of attaching hydrophobic side groups to a polyelectrolyte, used for deposition of a multilayer oxygen gas barrier thin film, was investigated. Polyethyleneimine (PEI) was labeled with pyrene and deposited in “quadlayers” of PEI, poly(acrylic acid), PEI, and sodium montmorillonite clay using layer-by-layer assembly. Thin films made of three repeating quadlayers using unmodified PEI had much lower density (1.24 g/cm3) than pyrene-labeled PEI-based films (1.45 g/cm3), which is believed to be the result of greater chain coiling from the increased hydrophobicity of pendant pyrene groups. This increased density in pyrene-labeled PEI layers allowed three quadlayers to match the oxygen transmission rate of a four quadlayer film made with unmodified PEI. This discovery provides an additional tool for tailoring the barrier behavior of clay-based multilayer thin films that could prove useful for a variety of packaging applications.

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Stevens, BE; Odenborg, PK; Priolo, MA; Grunlan, JC; J. Polym. Sci. Part B Polym. Phys., 201452, 1153-1156.

Published in Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics 2014 / Thin Films