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Memory effects in annealed hybrid gold nanoparticles/block copolymer bilayers

Vanna Torrisi1*, Francesco Ruffino2, Antonino Licciardello1, Maria Grazia Grimaldi2 and Giovanni Marletta1

Author affiliations

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

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Citation and License

Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:167  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-167

Published: 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.