In order to obtain nanopatterned surfaces, natural allophane particles originating from Japanese soils were immobilized as single particles on Si wafer substrates. When derived from aqueous suspensions, only a few nanoparticles were deposited and detected on the surface due to the weak adsorption of allophanes on the substrate. The amount of immobilized allophane was increased significantly, however, by using an organic solvent in combination with a micelle-based technique to suspend the allophane particles. The micelles were formed from a tailored, aliphatic diblock copolymer that was dissolved in toluene and contained several allophane particles. A cleaned silica chip was used as a substrate on which a monolayer of micelles was immobilized equidistant from each other by dip coating. To remove the polymer from the substrate and to produce free, single allophane nanoparticles, ultraviolet (UV) irradiation was used. After UV treatment, single allophane particles formed ring-shaped deposition patterns with a high surface density. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to verify the presence of single allophane nanoparticles in the Japanese samples which came from natural sources. The single allophane particles as well as the allophane-containing di-block copolymer micelles, both immobilized on Si substrates and TEM sample grids, were imaged by atomic force microscopy and TEM. In this way, the diameters of the single allophane particles, as well as the distances between the immobilized micelles and the particles and their topography on the substrates, were determined.

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