Solvent quality effects on scaling behavior of poly(methyl methacrylate) brushes in the moderate- and high-density regimes

Lionel C.H. Moh, Mark D. Losego, Paul V. Braun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Herein, we give a detailed experimental analysis for scaling law behavior in the "moderately dense" and "high-density" brush regimes for poly(methyl methacrylate) brushes swollen in a range of solvent conditions. This expansive experimental analysis aims to validate decades of mean field theory predictions on power law scaling behavior of grafted polymer chains. Brushes with grafting densities (σ) ranging from 0.1 to 0.8 nm -2 are prepared by atom-transfer radical polymerization. The swollen thickness (h) is characterized using liquid cell ellipsometry, and the solvent quality is varied using mixtures of acetone and methanol. In a good solvent, the exponential scaling behavior (h ∞ σn) has the typical n = 1/3 dependency for grafting densities of σ ≥ 0.4 nm-2. For grafting densities of >0.4 nm-2, n increases, indicating the transition from the moderately dense to the high-density brush regime. However, in a poor solvent, the scaling behavior is independent of σ and scales as h ∞ σ0.80, approaching the theoretical expectations of h ∞ σ1. An abrupt transition between these scaling law behaviors occurs at the Θ-solvent condition of ∼45% (v/v) methanol in acetone. While our experimental results parallel trends predicted by mean field theory, differences are observed and appear to be attributed to self-solvation of the polymer, polydispersity in the molecular weight, and chain termination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3698-3702
Number of pages5
JournalLangmuir
Volume27
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 5 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry

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