A new method allows a self-assembled molecular nanolayer to become a powerful nanoglue by "hooking" together any two surfaces that normally don't stick well. Unprotected, a nanolayer (green ball: silicon, blue: sulphur, red: carbon, white: hydrogen) would degrade or detach from a surface when heated to 400 degrees Celsius.
But when topped with a thin copper film that binds strongly with the nanolayer, heat causes the nanolayer to form strong chemical bonds to the silica underlayer -- hooking or gluing the copper-silica "sandwich" together. This technique produces a sevenfold increase of the thin film sandwich's adhesion strength and allows the nanolayer to withstand temperatures of at least 700 degrees Celsius. Both features are unexpected and unprecedented.
This new ability to bond together nearly any two surfaces using nanolayers will benefit nanoelectronics and computer chip manufacturing. Other envisioned applications include coatings for turbines and jet engines, and adhesives for high-heat environments.