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Spray Assembly of Metal–Phenolic Networks: Formation, Growth, and Applications

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journal contribution
posted on 21.09.2018, 15:18 by Qi-Zhi Zhong, Shuaijun Pan, Md. Arifur Rahim, Gyeongwon Yun, Jianhua Li, Yi Ju, Zhixing Lin, Yiyuan Han, Yutian Ma, Joseph J. Richardson, Frank Caruso
Hybrid conformal coatings, such as metal–phenolic networks (MPNs) that are constructed from the coordination-driven assembly of natural phenolic ligands, are of interest in areas including biomedicine, separations, and energy. To date, most MPN coatings have been prepared by immersing substrates in solutions containing the phenolic ligands and metal ions, which is a suitable method for coating small or flexible objects. In contrast, more industrially relevant methods for coating and patterning large substrates, such as spray assembly, have been explored to a lesser extent toward the fabrication of MPNs, particularly regarding the effect of process variables on MPN growth. Herein, a spray assembly method was used to fabricate MPN coatings with various phenolic building blocks and metal ions and their formation and patterning were explored for different applications. Different process parameters including solvent, pH, and metal–ligand pair allowed for control over the film properties such as thickness and roughness. On the basis of these investigations, a potential route for the formation of spray-assembled MPN films was proposed. Conditions favoring the formation of bis complexes could produce thicker coatings than those favoring the formation of mono or tris complexes. Finally, the spray-assembled MPNs were used to generate superhydrophilic membranes for oil–water separation and colorless films for UV shielding. The present study provides insights into the chemistry of MPN assembly and holds promise for advancing the fabrication of multifunctional hybrid materials.