Transition from Homogeneous Langmuir-Blodgett Monolayers to Striped Bilayers Driven by a Wetting Instability in Octadecylsiloxane Monolayers


Michael C. Howland, Malkiat S. Johal, and Atul N. Parikh, Langmuir 21, 10468-10474, 2005

We show that two dips of an oxidized silicon substrate through a prepolymerized n-octadecylsiloxane monolayer at an air−water interface in a rapid succession produces periodic, linear striped patterns in film morphology extending over macroscopic area of the substrate surface. Langmuir monolayers of n-octadecyltrimethoxysilane were prepared at the surface of an acidic subphase (pH 2) maintained at room temperature (22 ± 2 °C) under relative humidities of 50−70%. The substrate was first withdrawn at a high dipping rate from the quiescent aqueous subphase (upstroke) maintained at several surface pressures corresponding to a condensed monolayer state and lowered soon after at the same rate into the monolayer covered subphase (downstroke). The film structure and morphology were characterized using a combination of optical microscopy, imaging ellipsometry, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. An extended striped pattern, perpendicular to the pushing direction of the second stroke, resulted for all surface pressures when the dipping rate exceeded a threshold value of 40 mm min-1. Below this threshold value, uniform deposition characterizing formation of a bimolecular film was obtained. Under conditions that favored striped deposition during the downstroke through the monolayer-covered interface, we observed a periodic auto-oscillatory behavior of the meniscus. The stripes appear to be formed by a highly correlated reorganization and/or exchange of the first monolayer, mediated by the Langmuir monolayer at the air−water interface. This mechanism appears distinctly different from nanometer scale stripes observed recently in single transfers of phospholipid monolayers maintained near a phase boundary. The stripes further exhibit wettability patterns useful for spatially selective functionalization, as demonstrated by directed adsorptions of an organic dye (fluorescein) and an oil (hexadecane).