Autonomous Interfacial Assembly of Polymer Nanofilms via Surfactant-Regulated Marangoni Instability

Sung Joon Park, Myung Seok Lee, Mehmet Emin Kilic, Junil Ryu, Hosik Park, You In Park, Hyoungsoo Kim, Kwang Ryeol Lee, Jung Hyun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Interfacial polymerization (IP) provides a versatile platform for fabricating defect-free functional nanofilms for various applications, including molecular separation, energy, electronics, and biomedical materials. Unfortunately, coupled with complex natural instability phenomena, the IP mechanism and key parameters underlying the structural evolution of nanofilms, especially in the presence of surfactants as an interface regulator, remain puzzling. Here, we interfacially assembled polymer nanofilm membranes at the free water-oil interface in the presence of differently charged surfactants and comprehensively characterized their structure and properties. Combined with computational simulations, an in situ visualization of interfacial film formation discovered the critical role of Marangoni instability induced by the surfactants via various mechanisms in structurally regulating the nanofilms. Despite their different instability-triggering mechanisms, the delicate control of the surfactants enabled the fabrication of defect-free, ultra-permselective nanofilm membranes. Our study identifies critical IP parameters that allow us to rationally design nanofilms, coatings, and membranes for target applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4822-4829
Number of pages8
JournalNano Letters
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jun 14

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (2023R1A2C2002913, 2022R1A5A1032539, 2021R1A2C2007835, 2020H1D3A1A02081517, and KK2311-40).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Chemical Society.


  • instability
  • interfacial polymerization
  • membranes
  • polymer nanofilms
  • surfactants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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