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Simultaneous Spray Coating of Interacting Species: General Rules Governing the Poly(styrene sulfonate)/Poly(allylamine) System

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journal contribution
posted on 2011-04-19, 00:00 authored by M. Lefort, F. Boulmedais, L. Jierry, E. Gonthier, J.C. Voegel, J. Hemmerlé, Ph. Lavalle, A. Ponche, P. Schaaf
Simultaneous spraying of two solutions of interacting species onto a substrate held vertically leads to the formation of nanometer-sized coatings. Here we investigate the simultaneous spraying of poly(styrene sulfonate) (PSS) and poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH) solutions leading to the formation of a film composed of PSS/PAH complexes. The thickness of this film increases linearly with the cumulative spraying time. For a given spraying rate of PAH (respectively PSS), the growth rate of the film depends strongly upon the PSS/PAH ratio and passes through a maximum for a PSS/PAH ratio lying between 0.55 and 0.8. For a PSS/PAH ratio that is maintained constant, the growth speed of the film increases linearly with the spraying rate of polyelectrolyte of both solutions. Using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, we find that the film composition is almost independent of the PSS/PAH (spayed) ratio, with composition very close to 1:1 in PSS:PAH film. The 1:1 PSS:PAH composition is explained by the fact that the simultaneous spraying experiments are carried out with salt-free solutions; thus, electroneutrality in the film requires exact matching of the charges carried by the polyanions and the polycations. Zeta potential measurements reveal that, depending on whether the PSS/PAH spraying rate ratio lies below or above the optimal spraying rate ratio, the film acquires a positive or a negative excess charge. We also find that the overall film morphology, investigated by AFM, is independent of the spraying rate ratio and appears to be composed of nanometer-sized grains which are typically in the 100 nm range.