Surface Order and Stability of Langmuir-Blodgett Films

Science  24 Jul 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5069, pp. 508-511
DOI: 10.1126/science.257.5069.508


Angstrom-resolution atomic force microscope images of Langmuir-Blodgett monolayers and multilayers of cadmium arachidate in air and under water show a dramatic change from a disordered arrangement to a crystalline lattice by the addition or removal of a single layer of molecules. The disordered surface is less stable than the ordered one to mechanical stresses such as atomic force microscopy tip forces or at the air-water contact line during contact angle measurements. The difference in the degree of order in the alkyl chains is attributed to the strong attractive interaction between headgroups in the presence of the divalent cation.