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Understanding Interfacial Block Copolymer Structure and Dynamics

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Block copolymer (BCP) structure and dynamics were studied using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), neutron spin echo (NSE) spectroscopy, and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to obtain a fundamental understanding of the impact of an interfacial block on chain dynamics. A glassy block acted as the interface, and the dynamics of a rubbery block was studied. The rubbery block was protonated near the interface in one sample and near the chain end in another sample to observe the interfacial effect on the rubbery polymer. Analysis of the structure and dynamics revealed that the interfacial rubbery block was confined in layered morphologies and exhibited much slower dynamics than the chain-end rubbery block that was dispersed in the rubbery matrix. The interfacial rubbery block showed weaker dynamical relaxation than that at the chain end, and it also had critically important length scale dependence. Dynamical slowing was only observed at length scales significantly larger than the characteristic segmental length, and the disparity between interfacial and chain-end dynamics increased with increasing length.