Wetting properties of n-alkane thin films to understand the adherence mechanism of artificial membranes on silicon substrates

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In this work we present a study of the wetting properties of silicon samples coated with a single layer of n-alkane molecules that self-assemble perpendicular to the surface.The types of molecules studied here are n-alkane chains, mainly n-dotriacontane (n-C32 H66), that were deposited on silicon substrates with a thin native silicon oxidelayer (15˚A). The thin films were prepared by Dip-Coating technique in a C32 H66/n-heptane solution. The techniques used to characterize these films are Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). In this research a contact angle setup was developed to measure wettability of submonolayer films. An influence of morphology and coverage on the contact angle was found. Moreover, alkane molecules migrate much like a reverse coffee-ring effect after drop evaporation, forming complex tail-like morphologies.This research is relevant to understand alkane adhesion on silicon substrates, which is related with artificial membrane fabrication, which are used for biosensors applications. Micro-structured pattern like stripes could be applied as templates for other materials, especially considering the possibility of creating homogeneous surfaces with nanometer thick films.
Tesis (Master in Physics)--Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2017