Effect of metal cations on polydiacetylene langmuir films Academic Article uri icon


  • Polydiacetylene (PDA) Langmuir films (LFs) are a unique class of materials that couple a highly aligned conjugated backbone with tailorable pendant side groups and terminal functionalities. The films exhibit chromatic transitions from monomer to blue polymer and finally to a red phase that can be activated optically, thermally, chemically, and mechanically. The properties of PDA LFs are strongly affected by the presence of metal cations in the aqueous subphase of the film due to their interaction with the carboxylic head groups of the polymer. In the present study the influence of divalent cadmium, barium, copper, and lead cations on the structural, morphological, and optical properties of PDA LFs was investigated by means of surface pressure-molecular area (π-A) isotherms, atomic force microscopy, optical absorbance, and Raman spectroscopy. The threshold concentrations for the influence of metal cations on the film structure, stability, and phase transformation were determined by π-A analyses. It was found that each of the investigated cations has a unique influence on the properties of PDA LFs. Cadmium cations induce moderate phase transition kinetics with reduced domain size and fragmented morphology. Barium cations contribute to stabilization of the PDA blue phase and enhanced linear strand morphology. On the other hand, copper cations enhance rapid formation of the PDA red phase and cause fragmented morphology of the film, while the presence of lead cations results in severe perturbation of the film with only a small area of the film able to be effectively polymerized. The influence of the metal cations is correlated with the solubility product (K(sp)), association strength, and ionic-covalent bond nature between the metal cations and the PDA carboxylic head groups.

publication date

  • January 1, 2012