Effect of Final Monomer Deposition Steps on Molecular Layer-by-Layer Polyamide Surface Properties

Marissa E. Tousley, Devin L. Shaffer, Jung Hyun Lee, Chinedum O. Osuji, Menachem Elimelech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


A current challenge to desalination membrane technology is the inability to precisely control the properties of the polyamide selective layer due to the complexity of interfacial polymerization. In this study, we investigate the ability of molecular layer-by-layer (mLbL) assembly, an alternative polyamide fabrication technique, to create polyamide surfaces with tunable chemistry. We explore the influence of terminating monomer, monomer deposition time, monomer size, and the presence of underlying ionizable functional groups on mLbL-derived polyamide surface properties. AFM colloidal probe measurements, contact angle titrations, QCM cesium adsorption experiments, and XPS data show that polyamide films terminated with m-phenylenediamine or trimesoyl chloride for 20-30 s are chemically similar. Increasing terminating monomer deposition time or using a smaller, more reactive monomer results in more distinct colloidal-probe adhesive interactions, contact angle titration curves, negative charge densities, and near surface atomic compositions. By optimizing the final monomer deposition steps, both amine-rich and carboxyl-rich polyamide surfaces can be fabricated, which has implications for the application of mLbL assembly to membrane-based desalination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10815-10823
Number of pages9
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 25

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant CBET-1133484, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship DGE-1122492 awarded to M.E.T., and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowship FP-91750001-0 awarded to D.L.S. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Characterization facility use was supported by the Yale Institute for Nanoscience and Quantum Engineering (YINQE) and NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) Grant DGE-1119826.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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