Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics vol:9 issue:8 pages:918-932
Smectites or swelling clay minerals are naturally occurring nanomaterials that can be fully delaminated to elementary clay mineral platelets in dilute aqueous dispersion. This review article gives an overview of the recent progress on how the elementary clay mineral platelets can be reorganized in monolayered or multilayered hybrid nanofilms by layer-by-layer assembly or the Langmuir-Blodgett technique. In the latter case one hybrid layer consists of one layer of elementary clay mineral platelets with a theoretical thickness of 0.96 nm, covered on one side by amphiphilic cations. The organization of the elementary clay mineral platelets and that of the adsorbed amphiphilic cations in the nanofilms has been studied in great detail by ATR-FTIR, UV-Vis and fluorescence spectroscopy, XRD and AFM. The nanofilms carry functional properties, such as chirality, optical nonlinearity and magnetism, which are due to the nature of the amphiphilic cations and to the organization of both the amphiphilic molecules and the elementary clay mineral platelets.