We have demonstrated that the surface wettability of negatively charged polyimide films could be turned by electrostatic self-assembly of ionic liquids. The water contact angles of the polyimide films varied in the range 27-80 degrees for 13 different ionic liquids based on imidazolium and ammonium salts. The surface morphology of the resulting surfaces was characterized using atomic force microscopy. The results revealed that the assembly of longer-substituent cations was characterized by the formation of spherical nanoparticles that were formed due to sequent aggregation of cations on those electrostatically assembled ones via hydrophobic interaction. In this case, the counteranions are present in the assembled layers and the wettability is accordingly affected. Whereas for shorter-substituent cations, no aggregates were formed due to the less hydrophobic interaction than the electrostatic repulsive interaction between the cations, and the counteranions were absent from the assembled layers. This method can also be utilized to quantify the hydrophobicity of various ionic liquids.
Field of Research
091209 Polymers and Plastics 100706 Nanofabrication, Growth and Self Assembly