This paper describes a systematic study on the synthesis, anion exchange, and delamination of Co-Al layered double hydroxide (LDH), with the aim of achieving fabrication and clarifying the properties of LDH nanosheet/polyanion composite films. Co-Al-CO3 LDH hexagonal platelets of 4 μm in lateral size were synthesized by the urea method under optimized reaction conditions. The as-prepared CO3 2--LDH was converted to Cl-LDH by treating with a NaCl-HCl mixed solution, retaining its high crystallinity and hexagonal platelike morphology. LDHs intercalated with a variety of anions (such as NO3 -, ClO4 -, acetate, lactate, dodecyl sulfate, and oleate) were further prepared from Cl--LDH via an anion-exchange process employing corresponding salts. Exchanged products in various anion forms were found to show different delamination behaviors in formamide. Among them, best results were observed for NO3 --LDH in terms of the exfoliating degree and the quality of the exfoliated nanosheets. The delamination gave a pink transparent suspension containing well-defined nanosheets with lateral sizes of up to 2 μm. The resulting nanosheets were assembled layer-by-layer with an anionic polymer, poly(sodium styrene 4-sulfonate) (PSS), onto quartz glass substrates to produce composite films. Magnetic circular dichroism (MCD) measurements revealed that the assembled multilayer films exhibited an interesting magneto-optical response.
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