Polyelectrolyte multilayers were prepared by the layer-by-layer (LbL) technique from polyanions bearing aldehyde and polycations with 4-methylpyridinium moieties. The aldol reaction of these complementary reactive groups can be followed by the formation of fluorescent merocyanine dyes, resulting in cross-linked, ultrathin polymer films. The efficient stabilization of the polymer films allows for their intact removal from high surface energy supports, such as glass or surface oxidized silicon wafers, by simple treatment with salt solutions, yielding free-standing membranes. Increasing separation of the reactive polycation and polyanion layers with layers of inert polycation and polyanion analogues only gradually prevents the coupling reaction. From this dependence, polyions assembled in consecutive adsorption layers seem to be able to penetrate into as far as three neighboring layers.
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|Published - 7 Dec 2010