Stability and physical properties of alkylsilane and alkylphosphonate self-assembled monolayer (SAM) films on metal oxide substrates characterized at the micro- and nanoscale

Self-assembled monolayer (SAM) films have attracted immense attention for both fundamental and applied research. A SAM is composed of a large number of molecules with a head group that chemisorbs onto a substrate, a tail group that interacts with the outer surface of the film, and a spacer (backbone) chain group that connects the head and tail groups resulting in a coating. Interactions between spacer groups of different molecules, such as van der Waals forces and/or hydrogen bonding, hasten SAM film formation and contribute to its stability. In this dissertation, SAM and thin films have been formed onto copper and aluminum oxide surfaces by reaction with 1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorodecyldimethylchlorosilane (PFMS), 1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorodecyltrichlorosilane (PFTS), 1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorodecylphosphonic acid (PFDP), octylphosphonic acid (OP), decylphosphonic acid (DP), and octadecylphosphonic acid (ODP). The properties and stability of the films were investigated employing complementary surface analysis techniques: X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), friction force microscopy (FFM), a derivative of AFM, contact angle measurements (CAMs), and Fourier transform infrared reflection/absorption spectroscopy (FT-IRRAS). The perfluoroalkylsilane SAM on Cu is found to be extremely hydrophobic typically having sessile drop static contact angles of more than 130° for pure water and a surface energy of 14 mJ/m2 (mN/m). FFM showed a significant reduction in the adhesive force and friction coefficient of PFMS modified Cu (PFMS/Cu) compared to unmodified Cu. Treatment by exposure to harsh conditions showed that PFMS/Cu SAM can withstand boiling nitric acid (pH=1.8), boiling water, and warm sodium hydroxide (pH=12, 60 °C) solutions for at least 30 minutes. Furthermore, no SAM degradation was observed when PFMS/Cu was exposed to warm nitric acid solution for up to 70 min at 60 °C or 50 min at 80 °C. XPS and FT-IRRAS data reveal a coordination of the PFMS silicon (Si) atom with a cuprate (CuO) molecule present on the oxidized copper substrate. The data give good evidence that the stability of the SAM film on the PFMS modified oxidized Cu surface is largely due to the formation of a siloxy-copper (-Si-O-Cu-) bond via a condensation reaction between silanol (-Si-OH) and copper hydroxide (CuOH). For a PFTS modified Cu surface (PFTS/Cu), the sessile drop static contact angle of pure water has been measured to be more than 125° and the surface energy to be typically less than 16 mJ/m2. Stability tests show that the PFTS/Cu film can survive in boiling pure water for one hour, boiling nitric acid (pH 1.5 or 1.8) for 30 minutes, sodium hydroxide solution (pH 12, 70 °C) for 30 minutes, and autoclave conditions (steam at 134 °C and 3 atmospheres) for 15 minutes. The more commonly used self-assembled monolayer (SAM) modifications of Cu surfaces, e.g. thiol compounds, are significantly less stable than PFTS/Cu. Extremely hydrophobic (low surface energy) and stable PFMS/Cu SAMs and PFTS/Cu films could be useful as corrosion inhibitors in micro/nanoelectronic devices and/or as promoters for anti-wetting, low adhesion surfaces or drop-wise condensation on heat exchange surfaces. XPS analysis confirmed the presence of perfluorinated and non-perfluorinated alkylphosphonate molecules on the PFDP, DP, and ODP SAMs deposited at the aluminum oxide coated silicon (Al/Si) surfaces. The sessile drop static contact angle of pure water on PFDP SAMs was typically more than 130° and on DP and ODP typically more than 125° indicating that the phosphonic acid SAMs reacted with Al samples were very hydrophobic. The surface roughness for PFDP/Al, DP/Al, ODP/Al, and bare Al was approximately 35 nm, as determined by AFM. The surface energy for PFDP/Al was determined to be approximately 11 mJ/m2 by the Zisman plot method compared to 21 mJ/m2 and 20 mJ/m2 for DP/Al and ODP/Al, respectively. PFDP/Al gave the lowest adhesion and friction force while bare Al gave the highest. The adhesion and friction forces for ODP/Al and DP/Al SAMs were in between. ODP, DP, and OP SAMs have been studied in detail on relatively flat aluminum oxide surfaces. The rms surface roughness for ODP/Al, DP/Al, OP/Al, and bare Al was less than 15 nm, as determined by AFM. The sessile drop static contact angle of pure water on ODP/Al and DP/Al was typically more than 115° and on OP/Al typically less than 105°. The surface energy for ODP/Al and DP/Al was determined to be approximately 21 mJ/m2 and 22 mJ/m2, respectively, compared to 26 mJ/m2 for OP/Al. ODP/Al and OP/Al were studied by FFM to better understand their micro-/nano-tribological properties. ODP/Al gave the lowest coefficient of friction values while bare Al gave the highest. The adhesion forces for ODP/Al and OP/Al were comparable. The chemical stability of ODP/Al, PFDP/Al, DP/Al, OP/Al, and PFMS/Al SAMs has been inspected by exposure to warm nitric acid (pH 1.8, 30 min, 60-95 °C). The XPS data and stability against harsh chemical conditions indicate that a type of bond forms between a phosphonic acid (PA) or silane molecule and the oxidized Al surface. Stability tests using warm nitric acid (pH 1.8, 30 min, 60-95 °C) show ODP/Al SAMs to be most stable followed by PFDP/Al, DP/Al, PFMS/Al, and OP/Al SAMs. For PFTS/Al, stability tests demonstrate that modified aluminum is able to survive exposure to warm nitric acid (pH = 1.8, 60 °C, 30 min) indicating some degree of robustness. Hydrophobic, low adhesion, and robust aluminum surfaces have useful applications for micro/nano-electromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS), such as digital micro-mirror devices (DMDs). These studies are expected to aid in the design and selection of proper lubricants for MEMS/NEMS.

Mathieu, Hans Jörg
Schneider, Wolf-Dieter
Lausanne, EPFL
Other identifiers:
urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-epfl-thesis3734-4

Note: The status of this file is: EPFL only

 Record created 2006-12-20, last modified 2018-01-27

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