Precisely tuning the clay spacing in nanobrick wall gas barrier thin films

The influence of clay-layer spacing on gas barrier thin films of sodium montmorillonite clay and polyelectrolytes, created via layer-by-layer assembly, is
investigated. The alternate deposition of polymers and clay leads to the assembly of a nanobrick wall structure that is highly impermeable to gases. In an effort to tailor the thickness (or spacing) between clay layers, films with differing numbers of polymer layers between clay depositions were examined. Films analyzed for their thickness, clay concentration, transparency, nanostructure, and oxygen barrier as a function of layers (or spacing) between clay depositions reveal linear growth, optical clarity, and low OTR at 100 nm thick and containing only four clay layers. An optimal thickness between clay layers appears to exist for achieving the highest oxygen barrier LbL films (PO2< 1 ×10−21 cc(STP)·cm/(cm2·s·Pa)). This knowledge can ultimately minimize deposition steps and lead to decreased thin film fabrication times.

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Priolo, MA;  Holder, KM; Greenlee, SM; Stevens, BE; Grunlan, JC; Chem. Mater., 201325,1649-1655.

Published in Chemistry of Materials 2013 / Thin Films