Surface morphology and molecular organization of lignins in Langmuir-Blodgett films
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Atomic force microscopy (AFM) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) are used to investigate molecular organization in Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) films of two kinds of lignins. The lignins were extracted from sugar cane bagasse using distinct extraction processes and are referred to here as ethanol lignin (EL) and saccharification lignin (SAC). AFM images show that LB films from EL have a flat surface in comparison with those from SAC. For the latter, ellipsoidal aggregates are seen oriented perpendicularly to the substrate. This result is confirmed by a combination of transmission and reflection FTIR measurements, which also point to lignin aggregates preferentially oriented perpendicularly to the substrate. For LB films from EL, on the other hand, aggregates are preferentially oriented parallel to the substrate, again consistent with the flat surface observed in AFM data. The vibrational spectroscopy data for cast films from both lignins show random molecular organization, as one should expect.