In this article, we propose a novel methodology for the formation of monodisperse regularly sized disks of several nanometer thickness and with diameters of less than 100 nm using Langmuir monolayers as fabrication media. An amphiphilic triimide, tri-n-dodecylmellitic triimide (1), was spread as a monolayer at the air-water interface with a water-soluble macrocyclic oligoamine, 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane (cyclen), in the subphase. The imide moieties of 1 act as hydrogen bond acceptors and can interact weakly with the secondary amine moieties of cyclen as hydrogen bond donors. The monolayer behavior of 1 was investigated through π-A isotherm measurements and Brewster angle microscopy (BAM). The presence of cyclen in the subphase significantly shifted isotherms and induced the formation of starfish-like microstructures. Transferred monolayers on solid supports were analyzed by reflection absorption FT-IR (FT-IR-RAS) spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The Langmuir monolayer transferred onto freshly cleaved mica by a surface touching (i.e., Langmuir-Schaefer) method contained disk-shaped objects with a defined height of ca. 3 nm and tunable diameter in the tens of nanometers range. Several structural parameters such as the disk height, molecular aggregation numbers in disk units, and 2D disk density per unit surface area are further discussed on the basis of AFM observations together with aggregate structure estimation and thermodynamic calculations. It should be emphasized that these well-defined structures are produced through simple routine procedures such as solution spreading, mechanical compression, and touching a substrate at the surface. The controlled formation of defined nanostructures through easy macroscopic processes should lead to unique approaches for economical, energy-efficient nanofabrication.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces