Star copolymer films were produced by using spin-coating, drop-casting, and casting deposition techniques, thus obtaining ultrathin and thick films, respectively. The morphology is generally flat, but it becomes substrate-dependent for ultrathin films where the planarization effect of films is not efficient. The indentation hardness of films was investigated by Force Volume Maps in both the air and liquid. In the air, ultrathin films are in the substrate-dominated zone and, thus, the elastic modulus E is overestimated, while E reaches its bulk value for drop-casted ultrathin and thick films. In liquid (water), E follows an exponential decay for all films with a minimum soaked time t0 of 0.37 and 2.65 h for ultrathin and drop-casted ultrathin and thick films, respectively. After this time, E saturates to a value on average 92% smaller than that measured in the air due to film swelling. Such results support the role of film morphology in the antimicrobial activity envisaged in the literature, suggesting also an additional role of film hardness.

Morphology and Mechanics of Star Copolymer Ultrathin Films Probed by Atomic Force Microscopy in the Air and in Liquid

Giovanni Vigliotta;Fabrizio Bobba
2024-01-01

Abstract

Star copolymer films were produced by using spin-coating, drop-casting, and casting deposition techniques, thus obtaining ultrathin and thick films, respectively. The morphology is generally flat, but it becomes substrate-dependent for ultrathin films where the planarization effect of films is not efficient. The indentation hardness of films was investigated by Force Volume Maps in both the air and liquid. In the air, ultrathin films are in the substrate-dominated zone and, thus, the elastic modulus E is overestimated, while E reaches its bulk value for drop-casted ultrathin and thick films. In liquid (water), E follows an exponential decay for all films with a minimum soaked time t0 of 0.37 and 2.65 h for ultrathin and drop-casted ultrathin and thick films, respectively. After this time, E saturates to a value on average 92% smaller than that measured in the air due to film swelling. Such results support the role of film morphology in the antimicrobial activity envisaged in the literature, suggesting also an additional role of film hardness.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4855753
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