Mechanisms of surface-relief gratings formation in layer-by-layer films from azodyes
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Surface-relief gratings are photoinscribed on ionically adsorbed layer-by-layer (LBL) films of an azodye, Brilliant Yellow (BY), which was layered alternately with a polyelectrolyte. Photoinscription is performed by impinging an interference pattern of p- or s-polarized laser light with moderate intensity onto the LBL film, which is unlikely to cause thermal effects. Large-scale mass transport occurs due to the force associated with the field gradient of the light pattern. The ionic interactions between adjacent layers appear to provide the means for the chromophores to drag the polymer chains upon photoizomerization. LBL films were produced from two different polyelectrolytes and under two distinct pH values leading to markedly different film properties especially concerning photodegradation. Exposure to the laser light, for instance, leads to higher photodegradation in the poly(dimethyl diallylammonium chloride)/BY system, in comparison to the poly(allylamine hydrochloride)/BY films. Mass transport in the latter case is predominantly light-driven, which is consistent with the higher amplitude of modulation for p-polarized light (70 nm) compared to that caused by s-polarized light (18 nm). © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.