2023 Impact factor 1.8
Soft Matter and Biological Physics

Eur. Phys. J. E 8, 121-128 (2002)
DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2001-10059-9

Film thickness effects on the distribution of high-molecular-weight heterotelechelic polymers

L.R. Hutchings1, R.W. Richards1, R.L. Thompson1 and D.G. Bucknall2

1  Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Polymer Science and Technology, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, UK
2  ISIS Science Division Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Didcot, Oxon OX11 0QZ, UK


(Received 21 August 2001 and Received in final form 7 January 2002)

High-molecular-weight heterotelechelic deuteriopolystyrene, NDPSF, possessing an amine functional group at one end of the chain and a fluorocarbon group at the other was tethered to a silicon substrate by its amine functional group. These layers were coated with an unfunctionalised polystyrene matrix, HPS, such that the total film thickness covered a range from 2.2 to 9 times the radius of gyration of NDPSF. The detailed distribution of the polymers after annealing for times much greater than the reptation period of either of the components, was obtained using neutron reflectometry. No evidence for bridging of the two interfaces was found for the thicker films, but the finite concentration of the NDPSF polymer observed for the thinnest films may be due to bridging since the energy gain of the fluorocarbon end is just greater than the loss due to configurational entropy losses. A linear increase in the ellipsometric thickness of the excess of NDPSF at the substrate was discovered and we attribute this to the NDPSF slowly being leached out of the layer initially at the substrate followed by diffusion into the bulk of the film. The concentration profiles obtained are consistent with hindered relaxation of the large NDPSF molecules, when they are tethered at the substrate or at the vacuum surface.

82.35.Gh - Polymers on surfaces; adhesion.
68.47.Mn - Polymer surfaces.
61.12.Ha - Neutron reflectometry.

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2002