Morphology and amine accessibility of (3-aminopropyl) triethoxysilane films on glass surfaces

Wei Wang, Mark W. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


3-Aminopropyl) triethoxysilane (APTES) is commonly used to functionalize glass substrates because it can form an amine-reactive film that is tightly attached to the surface. In this study, we investigated the morphology and chemical reactivity of APTES films prepared on glass substrates using common deposition techniques. Films were prepared using concentrated vapor-phase deposition, dilute vapor-phase deposition, anhydrous organic-phase deposition and aqueous-phase deposition. All films were annealed, or cured, at 150°C. The morphology of the films was quantified by fluorescence and by atomic force microscopy (AFM). The optical equivalent of the AFM images was computed and then used to directly compare optical and AFM images. Reactive amine density was determined by a picric acid assay and by a method that employed N-succinimidyl 3-[2-pyridyldithio]-propionamido (SPDP) cross-linked rhodamine. Fluorescence and AFM images showed that silane films prepared from dilute vapor-phase and aqueous-phase deposition were more uniform and had fewer domains than those deposited by the other methods. The ratio of picric acid-accessible amino groups to SPDP cross-linked rhodamine-accessible groups varied with the preparation method, suggesting reactant size-dependent difference in amine accessibility. We found a larger number of accessible amino groups on films prepared by vapor-phase deposition than on those prepared from solution deposition. The dilute vapor-phase deposition technique produced relatively few domains, and it should be a good choice for bioconjugation applications. There were appreciable differences in the films produced by each method. We suggest that these differences originate from differences in film rearrangement during annealing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-77
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Bioconjugation
  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • Image analysis
  • Optical imaging
  • Silanol


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