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Rev Sci Instrum. 2012 Nov;83(11):114102. doi: 10.1063/1.4767289.

An automated spin-assisted approach for molecular layer-by-layer assembly of crosslinked polymer thin films.

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  • 1Polymers Division, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899, USA.


We present the design of an automated spin-coater that facilitates fabrication of polymer films based on molecular layer-by-layer (mLbL) assembly. Specifically, we demonstrate the synthesis of ultrathin crosslinked fully-aromatic polyamide (PA) films that are chemically identical to polymer membranes used in water desalination applications as measured by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. X-ray reflectivity measurements indicate that the automated mLbL assembly creates films with a constant film growth rate and minimal roughness compared with the traditional interfacial polymerization of PA. This automated spin-coater improves the scalability and sample-to-sample consistency by reducing human involvement in the mLbL assembly.

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