Memory effects in annealed hybrid gold nanoparticles/block copolymer bilayers
1 Laboratory for Molecular Surfaces and Nanotechnology (LAMSUN), Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Catania and CSGI, Viale A. Doria 6, 95125, Catania, Italy
2 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia and MATIS CNR-IMM, Università di Catania, Via S. Sofia 64, 95123, Catania, Italy
Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:167 doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-167Published: 23 February 2011
We report on the use of the self-organization process of sputtered gold nanoparticles on a self-assembled block copolymer film deposited by horizontal precipitation Langmuir-Blodgett (HP-LB) method. The morphology and the phase-separation of a film of poly-n-butylacrylate-block-polyacrylic acid (PnBuA-b-PAA) were studied at the nanometric scale by using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (TOF-SIMS). The templating capability of the PnBuA-b-PAA phase-separated film was studied by sputtering gold nanoparticles (NPs), forming a film of nanometric thickness. The effect of the polymer chain mobility onto the organization of gold nanoparticle layer was assessed by heating the obtained hybrid PnBuA-b-PAA/Au NPs bilayer at T >Tg. The nanoparticles' distribution onto the different copolymer domains was found strongly affected by the annealing treatment, showing a peculiar memory effect, which modifies the AFM phase response of the Au NPs layer onto the polar domains, without affecting their surfacial composition. The effect is discussed in terms of the peculiar morphological features induced by enhanced mobility of polymer chains on the Au NPs layer.