Weak segregation theory and non-conventional morphologies in the ternary ABC triblock copolymers
Moscow State University, Moscow, 119899, Russia
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Published online: 13 December 2005
The statistical theory of microphase separation in the ternary ABC triblock copolymers is presented and the corresponding phase diagrams are built both for the linear and miktoarm copolymers. For this purpose the Leibler weak segregation theory in molten diblock copolymers is generalized to multi-component monodisperse block copolymers with due regard for the 2nd shell harmonics contributions defined in the paper. The Hildebrand approximation for the χ-parameters is used. The physical meaning of this and alternative choices for the χ-parameters is discussed. The symmetric AfB1-2fCf copolymers with the middle block non-selective with respect to the side ones are shown to undergo the continuous ODT not only into the lamellar phase but also, instead, into various non-conventional cubic phases (depending on the middle block composition it could be the simple cubic, face-centered cubic or non-centrosymmetric phase, which reveals the symmetry of I41 32 space group No. 214 first predicted to appear in molten block copolymers). For asymmetric linear ABC copolymers a region of compositions is found where the weakly segregated gyroid (double gyroid) phase exists between the planar hexagonal and lamellar or one of the non-conventional cubic phases up to the very critical point. In contrast, the miktoarm (star) ABC block copolymers with one of its arm non-selective with respect to the two others are shown to reveal a pronounced tendency towards strong segregation, which is preceded by increase of stability of the conventional BCC phase and a peculiar weakly segregated BCC phase (BCC3), where the dominant harmonics belong to the 3rd coordination sphere of the reciprocal lattice. The validity region of the developed theory is discussed and outlined in the composition triangles both for linear and miktoarm copolymers. We present also the list of the 2nd shell harmonics (SAXS reflections) allowed and prohibited in some of the non-conventional morphologies due to the weak segregation considerations and comparison of our results with the preceding SCFT treatment of the ABC copolymers by Matsen.
© EDP Sciences/Società Italiana di Fisica/Springer-Verlag, 2005