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AFM investigations of the initial stages of prepolymer film growth on aluminium

Untersuchungen der anfänglichen Stadien des Prepolymerfilm-Wachstums auf Aluminium


Applied surface science 84 (1995), Nr.3, S.273-283
ISSN: 0169-4332
Fraunhofer IFAM ()
Fraunhofer IZM, Einrichtung Polymermaterialien und Composite ( Fraunhofer EPC) ()
adsorption; aluminium; atomic force microscopy; film growth; Filmwachstum; prepolymer; Rasterkraftmikroskopie

A cyanurate prepolymer was applied to aluminium coated silicon wafers by adsorption out of solution. Film growth from the initial stages to closed films was studied by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Sample preparation in the presence of external forces (spin coating) leads to film morphologies very different from adsorption near equilibrium (dip coating). The edge of the non closed films can be characterized by means of a borderline angle. The influence of specific prepolymer - substrate interactions, external forces and substrate topography is discussed. The formation of ultrathin, amorphous organic films on solids is studied for an application oriented model system. A prepolymer or a copolymer of a cyanate based high temperature adhesive is spin cast or dip coated onto silicon wafers or aluminium coatings to produce films as thin as possible. The mean thickness ranges from 1 - 4 nm. After a thorough substrate characterization by imaging and spectroscopic methods, the various films we re investigated by atomic force microscopy. Besides imaging, for discontinuous films atomic force microscopy was also utilized to measure the 'borderline angle' introduced in this paper. The borderline angle characterizes the slope of the surface of an isolated adsorbed organic object near the substrate. Thus, it is the geometric equivalent to the classical contact angle of a lying liquid drop. However, the phenomena leading to these angles are different. Nevertheless, the borderline angle is related to the affinity of the organic phase to the substrate an d thus will play an important role in future investigations of film formation and adhesion on the nanometer scale.