Comment on "The properties of free polymer surfaces and their influence on the glass transition temperature of thin polystyrene films" by J.S. Sharp, J.H. Teichroeb and J.A. ForrestS.A. Hutcheson and G.B. McKenna
Department of Chemical Engineering Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409-3121, USA
(Received 3 November 2005 / Received in final form 24 May 2006 / Published online: 30 March 2007 )
Sharp, Teichroeb and Forrest [J.S. Sharp, J.H. Teichroeb, J.A. Forrest, Eur. Phys. J. E 15, 473 (2004)] recently published a viscoelastic contact mechanics analysis of the embedment of gold nanospheres into a polystyrene (PS) surface. In the present comment, we investigate the viscoelastic response of the surface and conclude that the embedment experiments do not support the hypothesis of a liquid surface layer of sufficiently reduced "rheological temperature" to explain reports of very large reductions in the glass temperature of freely standing ultrathin polystyrene films. We also report some errors and discrepancies in the paper under comment that resulted in an inability to reproduce the reported calculations. We present our findings of error in a spirit of clarifying the problem of embedment of spheres into surfaces and in order that others can understand why they may not reproduce the results reported by Sharp, Teichroeb and Forrest. In the comment, we also examine the effects of the magnitude of the forces that result from the polymer surface-nanosphere particle interactions on the viscoelastic properties deduced from the embedment data and we provide a comparison of apparent surface or "rheological" temperature vs. experimental temperature that indicates further work needs to be performed to fully understand the surface embedment experiments. Finally, we comment that the nanosphere embedment measurements have potential as a powerful tool to determine surface viscoelastic properties.
64.70.Pf - Glass transitions.
65.60.+a - Thermal properties of amorphous solids and glasses: heat capacity, thermal expansion, etc..
68.15.+e - Liquid thin films.
68.35.Ja - Surface and interface dynamics and vibrations.
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2007