Structured superhydrophilic coatings made from aminomalononitrile

  • Rou Jun Toh CSIRO Manufacturing, Research Way, Clayton 3168, Victoria, Australia
  • Richard Evans CSIRO Manufacturing, Research Way, Clayton 3168, Victoria, Australia
  • Nicolas H. Voelcker CSIRO Manufacturing, Research Way, Clayton 3168, Victoria, Australia; Monash University, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 381 Royal Parade, Parkville, 3052, Victoria, Australia; Leibniz Institute for New Materials, Campus D2, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany
  • Marco D’ischia Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Via Cinthia 26, 80126 Naples, Italy
  • Vincent Ball Université de Strasbourg, Faculté de Chirurgie Dentaire, 8 Rue Sainte Elizabeth, 67000 Strasbourg, France; Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Unité Mixte de Recherche 1121, 11 Rue Humann, 67085 Strasbourg, Cédex, France
Keywords: aminomalonitrile, self-assembly, versatile coatings, superhydrophilicity


The motivation for new versatile and biocompatible coatings incites researchers to try to copy solutions developed by living organisms like mussels able to adhere to all kinds of substrates in wet conditions. Another source of inspiration may be found in molecules containing reactive CN groups which have been formed in prebiotic conditions on the early formed Earth. Among such molecules, aminomalonitrile (AMN) has been shown to allow the formation of coatings on all kinds of known materials. In the present investigation, the deposition mechanism of AMN based coatings on silicon, quartz and glass is investigated. It is shown that the film deposition is preceded by a lag phase during which AMN undergoes already a transformation in solution. The obtained coatings undergo a morphological transition from islands to fibrillar structures with a concomitant change in composition and hydrophilicity. A putative structure based on X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy data is proposed for the AMN based films deposited at the solid-water interface.