Domain Structures in Langmuir-Blodgett Films Investigated by Atomic Force Microscopy

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Science  08 Jan 1993:
Vol. 259, Issue 5092, pp. 213-216
DOI: 10.1126/science.259.5092.213


Investigations of phase-separated Langmuir-Blodgett films by atomic force microscopy reveal that on a scale of 30 to 200 micrometers, these images resemble those observed by fluorescence microscopy. Fine structures (less than 1 micrometer) within the stearic acid domains were observed, which cannot be seen by conventional optical microscopic techniques. By applying the force modulation technique, it was found that the elastic properties of the domains in the liquid condensed phase and grains observed within the liquid expanded phase were comparable. Small soft residues in the domains could also be detected. The influence of trace amounts of a fluorescence dye on the micromorphology of monolayers could be detected on transferred films.