Functional Self-Assembled Monolayers

Self-assembling monolayers (SAM's) are obtained by direct adsorption/reaction of an adsorbate on a given solid support. In this way, and compared to Langmuir-Blodgett films, we gain stability for the monolayers formed but we loose control on the final structure of the monolayer.

SAMs are used in many different contexts from nanolithography to the preparation of anchoring devices for proteins. Most common SAMs are prepared by using thiol-derivatives with a metallic substrate (gold basically), but other possibilities such as silane on glass can be realized. Our goal in this context is, on the one hand, to test self-assembling conditions for supramolecular organic compounds that may incorporate proteins that lead to interesting functionalized biomaterials. On the other hand, we employ photosensitive SAM's to locally control the boundary conditions in liquid crystal cells, which can be employed to reversibly imprint micropatterns in the bulk mesogen but also to tune the transport of embedded colloidal inclusions.