Hybrid Sol-Gel-Derived Films That Spontaneously Form Complex Surface Topographies
Surface patterns over multiple length scales are known to influence various biological processes. Here we report the synthesis and characterization of new, two-component xerogel thin films derived from carboxyethylsilanetriol (COE) and tetraethoxysilane (TEOS). Atomic force microscopy (AFM) reveals films surface with branched and hyper branched architectures that are ∼2 to 30 μm in diameter, that extend ∼3 to 1300 nm above the film base plane with surface densities that range from 2 to 77% surface area coverage. Colocalized AFM and Raman spectroscopy show that these branched structures are COE-rich domains, which are slightly stiffer (as shown from phase AFM imaging) and exhibit lower capacitive force in comparison with film base plane. Raman mapping reveals there are also discrete domains (≤300 nm in diameter) that are rich in COE dimers and densified TEOS, which do not appear to correspond with any surface structure seen by AFM.
Destino, Joel F.; Jones, Zachary R.; Gatley, Caitlyn M.; Zhang, Yi; Craft, Andrew K.; Detty, Michael R.; and Bright, Frank V., "Hybrid Sol-Gel-Derived Films That Spontaneously Form Complex Surface Topographies" (2016). Faculty Articles Indexed in Scopus. 706.