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June 5th, 2009
Scientists based at the University of Georgia, US, have grown conjugated polymer brushes directly onto monolayers, producing films with thicknesses less than 42 nanometres. This is a significant breakthrough for nanotechnology as existing techniques for creating electronics on the nanoscale are reaching their limits.
Previous attempts to grow conjugated polymers on monolayers have had limited success. Using a modified Kumada-type catalyst-transfer polycondensation, Jason Locklin and his team grew polyphenylene and polythiophene brushes, from aryl Grignard monomers, on gold monolayers. They analysed the polymer brushes using cyclic voltammetry, polarization modulation-infrared reflection-adsorption spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy. 'This surface-initiated polymerisation technique allows one to create conjugated polymer films in a controlled fashion,' Locklin comments. The technique 'allows for a high density of functional groups to be obtained in a limited area. This has been called the skyscraper approach.'
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