Small angle x-ray scattering experiments on three model low molar mass diblock copolymer systems containing minority polylactide and majority hydrocarbon blocks demonstrate that conformational asymmetry stabilizes the Frank-Kasper σ phase. Differences in block flexibility compete with space filling at constant density inducing the formation of polyhedral shaped particles that assemble into this low symmetry ordered state with local tetrahedral coordination. These results confirm predictions from self-consistent field theory that establish the origins of symmetry breaking in the ordering of block polymer melts subjected to compositional and conformational asymmetry.
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PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article