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Langmuir. 2009 Sep 1;25(17):9873-8. doi: 10.1021/la900953a.

Multilayer nanostructured porphyrin arrays constructed by layer-by-layer self-assembly.

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  • 1School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia 4072.


UV-vis absorption, atomic force microscopy (AFM), contact angle, and X-ray reflectivity experiments were performed on thin films deposited on crystalline silicon substrates as alternating layers of a porphyrin with anionic functionality, tetra-5,10,15,20-(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphine (TSPP) or the metalated version, Cu(II)TSPP, and the cationic polyelectrolyte, poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (PDDA). The films were made by dipping in alternating aqueous solutions containing film components (layer-by-layer deposition). Modeling of the X-ray reflectivity data revealed differences in the films' thickness depending on the method of film deposition. An unusual decrease in film thickness after each polyelectrolyte dip was also observed for films using TSSP. UV-vis measurements revealed that a similar amount of TSSP was included within films despite the method of formation. UV-vis measurements also revealed the presence of free-base, H-aggregate, and J-aggregate forms of the porphyrin after TSPP dipping, and the subsequent disappearance of the J-aggregate after dipping in the PDDA solution. A model of film formation was proposed on the basis of the concept of two different types of porphyrin aggregates being present after dipping in porphyrin solution. A layer of porphyrin molecules initially attach to the Si surface such that the planar molecules are arranged side by side as H-aggregates with an excess of J-aggregated material on top. The J-aggregate is then removed and replaced by a layer of PDDA. A change in contact angle of 14 degrees was observed between porphyrin and polyelectrolyte layers due to the more hydrophobic nature of the polymer. The presence of the J-aggregate was confirmed in AFM images obtained from the porphyrin layer. Exposure of the films to solutions of alternating pHs of 10 and 1.8 resulted in reproducible switching of the UV-vis spectra, indicating a possible sensing application.

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