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Research Highlight

Dispersity Enables Tuning Co-existing Morphologies in Thin Films of Block Copolymers

Scientific Achievement

Dispersity and asymmetric interactions with substrates facilitate co-existence of cylindrical and lamellar domains in thin films of diblock copolymers.

Significance and Impact

Work establishes dispersity as an important parameter in realizing co-existing nanoscale domains and for tailoring properties of thin films containing diblock copolymers.

Research Details

‒ Copolymer thin films containing asymmetric poly(deuterated- styrene-b-n butyl methacrylate) – dPS-PBMA - were studied using specular neutron reflectivity (NR) and self-consistent field theory (SCFT).
‒ Obtained co-existing cylindrical domains near the silica substrate and lamellar domains near the air interface.
‒ Vertical segregation based on chain lengths led to stabilization of the co-existing domains.

J. P. Mahalik, W. Li, A.T . Savici, S. Hahn, H. Lauter, H. Ambaye, B. G. Sumpter, V. Lauter, and R. Kumar, "Dispersity-Driven Stabilization of Coexisting Morphologies in Asymmetric Dibloc Copolymer Thin Films," Macromolecules 54, 450-459 (2021). DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.0c01722