AC-assisted deposition of aggregate free silica films with vertical pore structure†
Silica thin films with vertical nanopores are useful to control access to electrode surfaces and may act as templates for growth of nanomaterials. The most effective method to produce these films, electrochemically assisted surfactant assembly, also produces aggregates of silica particles. This paper shows that growth with an AC signal superimposed onto the potential avoids the aggregates and only very small numbers of single particles are found. This finding is linked to better control of the diffusion field of hydroxide ions that are responsible for particle growth. The resultant films are smooth, with very well-ordered hexagonal pore structures.