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Comparative study of layer-by-layer deposition techniques for poly(sodium phosphate) and poly(allylamine hydrochloride)

Cesar Elosua*, Diego Lopez-Torres, Miguel Hernaez, Ignacio R Matias and Francisco J Arregui

Author Affiliations

Nanostructured Optical Devices Laboratory, Electric and Electronic Engineering Department, Public University of Navarra, Edif. Los Tejos, Campus Arrosadía, Pamplona 31006, Spain

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:539  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-539

Published: 20 December 2013


An inorganic short chain polymer, poly(sodium phosphate), PSP, together with poly(allylamine hydrochloride), PAH, is used to fabricate layer-by-layer (LbL) films. The thickness, roughness, contact angle, and optical transmittance of these films are studied depending on three parameters: the precursor solution concentrations (10-3 and 10-4 M), the number of bilayers deposited (20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 bilayers), and the specific technique used for the LbL fabrication (dipping or spraying). In most cases of this experimental study, the roughness of the nanofilms increases with the number of bilayers. This contradicts the basic observations made in standard LbL assemblies where the roughness decreases for thicker coatings. In fact, a wide range of thickness and roughness was achieved by means of adjusting the three parameters mentioned above. For instance, a roughness of 1.23 or 205 nm root mean square was measured for 100 bilayer coatings. Contact angles close to 0 were observed. Moreover, high optical transmittance is also reported, above 90%, for 80 bilayer films fabricated with the 10-4 M solutions. Therefore, these multilayer structures can be used to obtain transparent superhydrophilic surfaces.

Layer-by-layer; Dipping and spray deposition; Inorganic polymer; Hydrophilic film; Functionalized surfaces