A substrate independent approach for generation of surface gradients

Renee V. Goreham, Agnieszka Mierczynska, Madelene Pierce, Robert D. Short, Shima Taheri, Akash Bachhuka, Alex Cavallaro, Louise E. Smith, Krasimir Vasilev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, surface gradients have attracted significant interest for various research and technological applications. In this paper, we report a facile and versatile method for generating surface gradients of immobilized nanoparticles, nanotopography and ligands that is independent from the substrate material. The method consists of first depositing a functional polymer layer on a substrate and subsequent time controlled immersion of this functionalized substrate in solution gold nanoparticles (AuNPs), silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) or poly (styrenesulfonate) (PSS). Chemical characterization by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and morphological analysis by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) show that the density of nanoparticles and the concentration of PSS across the surface increases in a gradient manner. As expected, time of immersion determines the concentration of surface bound species. We also demonstrate the generation of surface gradients of pure nanotopography. This is achieved by depositing a 5 nm thick plasma polymer layer on top of the number density gradient of nanoparticles to achieve a homogeneous surface chemistry. The surface independent approach for generation of surface gradients presented in this paper may open opportunities for a wider use of surface gradient in research and in various technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-110
Number of pages5
JournalThin Solid Films
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Gradients
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanotopography
  • Plasma polymerization
  • Surface modification


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