Surfactant Removal and Silica Condensation During The Photochemical Calcination of Thin Film Silica Mesophases


Andrew M. Dattelbaum, Meri L. Amweg, Julia D. Ruiz, Laurel E. Ecke, Andrew P. Shreve, and Atul N. Parikh, Journal of Physical Chemistry B 109, 14551-14556, 2005

The evolution of photochemical surfactant removal and silica condensation from organically templated thin film silica nanocomposites with mesoscopic ordering has been probed using a combined application of Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy and single wavelength ellipsometry. Thin films of silica nanocomposites were prepared by a previously reported evaporation-induced self-assembly process. Specifically, oxidized silicon and gold substrates were withdrawn at 25 mm/min from a subcritical micelle concentration solution containing an ethylene oxide surfactant as a structure-directing agent and tetraethyl orthosilicate as a silica precursor. Real-time grazing incidence difference FT-IR spectra of the nanocomposite films on gold taken during exposure to short-wavelength ultraviolet light (184−257 nm) show that surfactant removal and silica condensation occur gradually and concomitantly. Surfactant removal and silica reconstructions were found to be nearly complete after 90 min of exposure. Further, a transient feature was observed in the FT-IR spectra around 1713 cm-1 during the UV exposure process and was assigned to a carbonyl (CO) stretching mode absorption, reflecting the transient formation of a partially oxidized surfactant intermediate. From these data we propose a stepwise model for surfactant removal from the nanocomposite films. Ellipsometrically determined index of refraction values collected as a function of UV exposure are also shown to support such a stepwise mechanism of surfactant removal from the ordered nanocomposite silica thin film mesophases studied here.