The evaluation of thickness, refractive index, and optical properties of biomolecular films and self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) has a prominent relevance in the development of label-free detection techniques (quartz microbalance, surface plasmon resonance, electrochemical devices) for sensing and diagnostics. In this framework Spectroscopic Ellipsometry (SE) is an important player. In our approach to SE measurements on ultrathin soft matter, we exploit the small changes of the ellipsometry response (δΔ and δΨ) following the addition/removal of a layer in a nanolayered structure. So-called δΔ and δΨ difference spectra allow to recognize features related to the molecular film (thickness, absorptions) and to the film-substrate interface thus extending SE to a sensitive surface UV-VIS spectroscopy. The potential of ellipsometry as a surface spectroscopy tool can be boosted when flanked by other characterizations methods. The chapter deals with the combined application of broad-band Spectroscopic Ellipsometry and nanolithography methods to study organic SAMs and multilayers. Nanolithography is achieved by the accurate removal of molecules from regularly shaped areas obtained through the action of shear forces exerted by the AFM tip in programmed scans. Differential height measurements between adjacent depleted and covered areas provide a direct measurement of film thickness, which can be compared with SE results or feed the SE analysis. In this chapter we will describe the main concepts behind the SE difference spectra method and AFM nanolithograhy. We will describe how SE and AFM can be combined to strengthen the reliability of the determination of thickness and, as a consequence, of the optical properties of films. Examples will be discussed, taken from recent experiments aimed to integrate SE and AFM nanolithography applied to SAMs and nano layers of biological interest. By analysing in detail the changes of the spectroscopic features of compact versus non-compact layers and correlating such changes with the post-lithography AFM analysis of surface morphology SE unravels the specific versus unspecific adsorption of biomolecules on gold surfaces functionalized with suitable SAMs.
|Titolo:||Thickness and Beyond. Exploiting Spectroscopic Ellipsometry and Atomic Force Nanolithography for the Investigation of Ultrathin Interfaces of Biologic Interest|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||02.01 - Contributo in volume (Capitolo o saggio)|