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Molecular Insight into the Effects of Clustering on the Dynamics of Ionomers in Solutions...

Publication Type
Journal Name
ACS Macro Letters
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1118 to 1124

Ionizable groups tethered to polymers enable their many current and potential applications. However, these functionalities drive the formation of physical networks through clustering of the ionic groups, resulting in constrained dynamics of the macromolecules. Understanding the molecular origin of this hindrance remains a critical fundamental question, whose solution will directly impact the processing of ionizable polymers from molecules to viable materials. Here, using quasielastic neutron scattering accompanied by molecular dynamics simulations, segmental dynamics of slightly sulfonated polystyrene is studied in solutions as the cohesion of the ionic assemblies is tuned. We find that in cyclohexane the ionic assemblies act as centers of confinement, affecting dynamics both on macroscopic lengths and in the vicinity of the ionic assemblies. Addition of a small amount of ethanol affects the packing of the ionizable groups within the assemblies, which in turn enhances the chain dynamics.