Nanostructured montmorillonite/poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) multilayer thin films were fabricated up to 100 layers thick by stepwise alternating polyelectrolyte and clay deposition from solution. The structure and morphology of the films were characterized by x-ray diffraction, ellipsometry, atomic force microscopy, and quartz crystal microbalance ex situ and in situ measurements. The mechanical properties were tested by nanoindentation. The hardness of the multilayer thin film was 0.46 GPa. The thin film's modulus was correlated to its ordering and anisotropic structure. Both hardness and modulus of this composite film were higher than those of several other types of polymer thin films.
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