Confinement, composition, and spin-coating effects on the glass transition and stress relaxation of thin films of polystyrene and styrene-containing random copolymers: Sensing by intrinsic fluorescence

Manish K. Mundra, Christopher J. Ellison, Ross E. Behling, John M. Torkelson

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86 Scopus citations

Abstract

The glass transition temperatures (Tgs) of polystyrene (PS) and styrene/methyl methacrylate (S/MMA) random copolymer films are characterized by intrinsic fluorescence, i.e., monomer fluorescence from an excited-state phenyl ring and excimer fluorescence from an excited-state dimer of two phenyl rings. The Tg is determined from the intersection of the rubbery- and glassy-state temperature dependences of the integrated fluorescence intensity measured upon cooling from an equilibrated state. With PS, the effects of nanoconfinement on Tg and the transition strength agree with results from studies using probe fluorescence and ellipsometry. The Tg-nanoconfinement effect is "tuned" by copolymer composition. As S-content is reduced from 100 mol% to 22 mol%, the confinement effect changes from a reduction to an enhancement of Tg relative to bulk Tg. Intrinsic fluorescence is also a powerful tool for characterizing relaxation of residual stresses. Stresses induced by spin coating affect local conformations, which in turn affect excimer and monomer fluorescence and thereby integrated intensity. The heating protocol needed to achieve apparently equilibrated local conformations is determined by equivalence in the integrated intensities obtained upon heating and subsequent cooling. While partial stress relaxation occurs upon heating in the glassy state, full relaxation of local conformations requires that a film be heated above Tg for times that are long relative to the average cooperative segmental relaxation time. For example, in thin and ultrathin films, equilibration is achieved by heating slowly (∼1 K/min) to 15-20 K above Tg. Dilute solution fluorescence of PS and S/MMA copolymers is also characterized and compared to reports in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7747-7759
Number of pages13
JournalPolymer
Volume47
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 18 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the support of the NSF-MRSEC program (Grants DMR-0076097 and DMR-0520513), Northwestern University, a Henderson Dissertation-Year Fellowship (to C.J.E.), and the use of equipment in shared user facilities managed by the Materials Research Center at Northwestern University. We thank Jungki Kim for assistance with the NMR measurements of the copolymers and Connie Roth for assistance with the ellipsometry measurements.

Copyright:
Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Copolymer
  • Glass transition
  • Thin film

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