Single-chain scattering in heterogeneous block copolymers

F. S. Bates, C. V. Berney, R. E. Cohen, G. D. Wignall

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Diblock copolymers consisting of polystyrene (S) attached to a polybutadiene (B) block (which is either hydrogenous or perdeuterated) have been synthesized and blended in such a way that the microphase-separated S and B domains have equal scattering-length densities, thus eliminating the component of small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) due to the domain structure. Two samples were studied: one with small spherical polybutadiene microdomains whose size was in essential agreement with calculations assuming equilibrium, and a second one of larger molecular weight in which the sphere size, while larger, was considerably smaller than predicted from equilibrium theory. The SANS spectra of these samples were analysed to give the radii of gyration Rg and molecular weights Mw of the labelled polybutadiene blocks from plots of I-1 versus Q2 and least-square fits to the single-chain scattering function proposed by Debye. Results for the first sample agreed with the molecular weight obtained from chromatography and u.v. absorption and with the Rg found in bulk polybutadiene of similar Mw. The SANS estimates of both Mw and Rg for the second sample were anomallously large; these deviations may be due to (a) non-Gaussian conformations of the polybutadiene chains imposed by the nonequilibrium state of the microdomain, or (b) clustering of the deuterated polybutadiene chains within the microdomain due to small isotopic differences in chemical potential, enhanced by the larger Mw. Observations on other systems suggest that the second effect is the dominant one.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-524
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1983


  • Small-angle scattering
  • chain conformation
  • deuterated polymer chains
  • heterogeneous block copolymers
  • polybutadiene

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