Tailoring the interparticle distance in Langmuir nanoparticle films

BENKOVIČOVÁ, Monika – HOLOS, Ana – NÁDAŽDY, Peter – HALAHOVETS, Yurily – KOTLÁR, Mário – KOLLÁR, Jozef – ŠIFFALOVIČ, Peter – JERGEL, Matej – MAJKOVÁ, Eva – MOSNÁČEK, Jaroslav – IVANČO, Ján

In Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. Vol. 21, iss. 18 (2019)


The ability to control the interparticle distance in self-assembled arrays of nanoparticles plays an important role in a large number of applications, which require tunable electronic and photonic properties. Importantly, practical applications in real devices rely on arrays satisfying more stringent requirements of lateral homogeneity controlled over a large scale. Herein, the interparticle distance in ordered nanoparticle assemblies was controlled by varying the nanoparticle effective size via the molecular chemical nature and chain length of the ligand. Iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) were functionalized by three types of ligands, namely (i) a mixture of oleic acid/oleylamine (OA/OAm), (ii) poly(n-butyl acrylate) (PBA) and (iii) polystyrene (PS), while two different molar masses of PBA and PS were used. The polymeric ligands with narrow dispersity and bearing phosphonic chain-end groups were prepared by atom transfer radical polymerization. Functionalization of the IONPs with polymeric ligands was achieved using a ligand exchange method. Both the hydrodynamic diameter and size distribution of the nanoparticles in colloidal solution were determined by dynamic light scattering (DLS). The mean interparticle distances in Langmuir–Schaefer monolayers prepared on solid substrates were assessed by means of the pair correlation function calculated from the atomic force microscopy (AFM) images. Furthermore, the lateral ordering, homogeneity, and interparticle distances averaged over a mesoscopic scale of the ordered monolayers were studied by the grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS) technique. We demonstrate that the (nanoparticle) centre-to-centre distance in the ordered assemblies constituted by the IONPs with the core diameter of about 6 nm can be varied from 7.6 to about 12 nm with the resulting interparticle gap change by a factor of about 4.