Molecular pressure sensors


Monitoring of brush-like macromolecules as they change their shape in response to variations in the film pressure during flow were reported. After appropriate calibration, these molecular sensors can be used to gauge both the pressure gradient and the friction coefficient at the substrate. The design of the pressure-responsive macromolecules is based on brush-like polymer architectures comprised of a flexible backbone surrounded by a dense shell of side chains. The area per molecule can be used as a pressure sensitive parameter to gauge the variations of film pressure within flowing monolayers. The molecular area was additionally verified through molecular visualization of LB-transferred monolayers by Atomic force microscopy (AFM). Advanced developments in AFM techniques may enable ultrafast imaging in the future through the use of higher frequency cantilevers and electronic enhancement of the cantilever’s quality factor.