KSV NIMA Langmuir and Langmuir-Blodgett Troughs are used to fabricate and characterize thin films with controlled packing density.

KSV NIMA Langmuir Troughs can fabricate the monolayer to a liquid-gas interface whereas KSV NIMA Langmuir Blodgett Troughs can both create the monolayer at liquid-gas interface and then transfer the layer as a coating on a solid substrate. This enables the creation of single and multilayer films with precise control of thickness, molecular orientation and packing density.

Technology benefits

The Langmuir and Langmuir-Blodgett technologies have unique advantages explaining their wide usage worldwide to study some of the most essential scientific questions. These advantages include:

  • Precise control of molecular packing density
  • Precise control over coating thickness
  • Homogeneous deposition over large areas
  • Enables multilayer structures with varying layer composition
  • High flexibility to use different kind of particles and substrates
  • Coating quality can be pre-monitored prior to deposition

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Features & Benefits

Quality 

  • Single piece solid PTFE trough tops including the dipping well enable easy cleaning without any contaminating glues or coatings
  • Adjustable legs, trough top locating pins, barrier limit switches and overflow channels ensure safe and reliable use of the system. The legs can be easily removed for the integration with microscopes.
  • Integrated design with casing for all the sensitive parts for robustness and long term usage.
  • KSV NIMA’s extensive knowledge and application support team let you get the best out of your instrument – with local partners and engineers globally.

Usability 

  • Uses standardized Wilhelmy method with platinum plate for surface pressure sensing with its ultra-sensitive pressure sensor, with the option to use also disposable paper plates to avoid cleaning or platinum high quality rods for limited space.
  • Powerful KSV NIMA LB software integrates all controls and data analysis into the same software, including different characterization tools.
  • All troughs come with integrated temperature control channels which can be readily used with a separate bath circulator. 

Versatility

  • Specialized characterization tools enable ensuring floating thin layer quality already prior to coating and after the coating process. 
  • Open modular design with simple trough top and barrier placement enables easy integration to characterization systems, upgradeability and easy cleaning of parts.
  • Allows the studies also at liquid-liquid interface and the Alternate system can be used to coat two different materials in alternating layers automatically in a single experiment.
  • Availability of a wide range of accessories such as pH probes, different Wilhelmy plates, injection ports etc.

Application overview

KSV NIMA Langmuir and Langmuir-Blodgett Troughs are used for creating high sophisticated organized films. The applications include:

  • Creating functional coatings with nanoparticles (altering e.g. wettability, reflectivity, biocompatibility, conductivity, binding properties etc.)
  • Forming model cell membranes at air-buffer interface and studying the effect of toxins or pharmaceuticals on the cell membrane
  • Forming thin polymer films for the study of polymer crosslinking, stability, degradation etc.
  • Fabricating sophisticated sensor surfaces with a multicomponent structure
  • Studying the interactions, adsorption, desorption, interfacial stability and structure of amphiphilic molecules
  • Interfacial rheological studies to determine film stability, phase transitions or reactions

Materials commonly used for thin film creation include

  • Nanoparticles (polymeric, ceramic, metallic) and graphene
  • Lipids and phospholipids
  • Polymers and oligomers
  • Proteins, peptides and other biological polymers
  • Quantum dots
  • Surfactants, emulsions, colloids
  • Other amphiphilic molecules

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KSV NIMA Langmuir Troughs

Standard Langmuir Troughs are available in several sizes depending on the need. The smaller trough tops are preferable when using expensive molecules whereas the bigger systems provide more space to be combined with characterization instruments and also provide a higher compression ratio.

The KSV NIMA Microscopy Troughs are special kind of Langmuir Troughs containing either an upright or inverted microscopy window. The window allows high optical transmission down to a wavelength of 200 nm (suitable for visible light or UV microscopy). 

The Langmuir Ribbon Barrier Trough enables the study of floating monolayers at high packing densities (e.g. > 70 mN/m for DPPC) by monolayer confinement. Working at high surface pressures is required to study phenomena such as lung surfactant (DPPC) behavior in alveoli.

The Liquid-Liquid Langmuir Troughs extend the capability to use both liquid-liquid and air-liquid interfaces. Liquid-liquid interface is used often to study for example emulsion stability and properties in oil & gas, food, cosmetic or pharmaceutical research.

KSV NIMA Langmuir-Blodgett Troughs

The standard KSV NIMA LB Troughs are also available in several sizes from to large ones. Depending on the size of the system, you can deposit LB films on samples ranging in size from a few square millimeters to many tens of square centimeters. The LB dipping mechanism can also be easily fitted with a LS deposition kit for horizontal Langmuir-Schaefer deposition.

The KSV NIMA Alternate Trough is the premium Langmuir-Blodgett Trough. It is capable of coating a substrate automatically using two different materials in the same experiment for even more advanced highly organized coatings. Materials can be deposited in any desired order and direction. The system uses two sets of barriers and pressure sensors to control packing density separately for each material used.

KSV NIMA LB Software

KSV NIMA LB software is a powerful tool for creating coatings and studying Langmuir films. Based on 30 years of experience, KSV NIMA LB software includes all the tools needed for effective and easy measurements and data handling.

The versatile measurement modes enable measurements from dipping all the way to compression isotherms, adsorption studies and interfacial rheology. The software saves the entire measurement setup together with the results for convenient analysis. All data can be easily viewed, plotted, reported and exported as needed.

The measurement features include:

  • Coating mode, for depositing material layer, including a coating effectiveness parameter transfer ratio, keeping the packing density constant throughout the dipping
  • Compression/relaxation isotherms, for molecular interactions and phase changes
  • Isochores/isobars, by keeping the pressure stable automatically and following temperature/area changes
  • Monolayer kinetics, for enzyme, polymerization or any other zero-order reactions
  • Adsorption and penetration of enzymes, proteins, peptides and similar molecules
  • Interfacial rheology, for viscoelastic studies of Langmuir films, for emulsion or foam stability, with oscillating barriers method
  • Integrated KSV NIMA characterization tool functions, for easy integration, for example automatic picture taking based on surface pressure when combined to KSV NIMA MicroBAM

Application Examples

Nanoparticle, graphene and graphene oxide coatings

LB and LS techniques provide the platform to create highly organized and packed nanoparticle layers. These coatings can have special functionality for novel applications.

application-langmuir.pngA monolayer of 200nm-diameter polystyrene nanospheres deposited on a quartz substrate using the Langmuir-Blodgett technique on a KSV NIMA Medium trough. (a) AFM image of the monolayer, (b) a Fourier transform of the same image exhibiting the exceptional crystallinity achievable with this technique. Copyright Dr. Alaric Taylor

Dip coating, LB and LS techniques have shown to be excellent methods for controlled preparation of thin films of graphene and graphene oxide. These methods offer a great amount of control for depositing dispersed SG and SGO produced by the liquid exfoliation methods. As the liquid exfoliation methods are recognized as some of the most potential methods for producing graphene at an industrial scale, these deposition methods are of great importance in graphene research.

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With PM-IRRAS it was possible to record detailed IR spectra of floating and deposited layers to determine the chemical composition. It was possible to create a single sheet of graphene, validating LS as a good method to create and study single sheet graphene and graphene oxide films.

Gilje, S. et al., ‘Nano Letters’ (2007), 7, 3394-339

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Lipophilic proteins often reside in cell membranes, and the floating monolayer models can be used for studying their interactions in a close to native environment. Some of the studied parameters include the packing density of the membrane with different environment or content. 

The isotherms of model skin lipids with increasing levels of oleic acid. With permission from Langmuir 2013, 29 (15),pp 4857-4865. Copyright 2013 American Chemical Society.