Measuring mechanical properties of polyelectrolyte multilayer thin films: Novel methods based on AFM and optical techniques

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Catherine Picart - , INSERM - Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (Author)
  • Bernard Senger - , INSERM - Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale, University of Strasbourg (Author)
  • Kheya Sengupta - , Technical University of Munich (Author)
  • Frédéric Dubreuil - , Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (Author)
  • Andreas Fery - , Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (Author)


Mechanical properties of polyelectrolyte multilayers are of great importance for their various applications like their use as biocompatible surface coatings or for encapsulation and release. Measuring these properties poses considerable experimental problems, since the films of interest are freestanding and/or of nanoscale thickness. We report here on recent method developments based on atomic force microscopy and/or microinterferometry techniques that allow for quantitative measurements on various polyelectrolyte multilayer systems. The results form the basis for a quantitative understanding of structure property relations for these systems, but are as well of interest for other thin film/membrane systems where similar experimental challenges are met.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-36
Number of pages7
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes



  • AFM, Force spectroscopy, Membranes, Microinterferometry, Thin polymeric films