Polymer Science Faculty Research


Infrared-Visible Sum Frequency Generation Spectroscopic Study of Molecular Orientation at Polystyrene/Comb-Polymer Interfaces

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Surface-sensitive infrared-visible sum frequency generation spectroscopy (SFG) in total internal reflection geometry has been used to study the structure of poly(vinyl n-octadecyl carbamate-co-vinyl acetate) (PVNODC) or poly(octadecyl acrylate) (PA-18) in contact with a deuterated or hydrogenated polystyrene (dPS or hPS) layer. SFG spectra from the PVNODC (or PA-18)/hPS interface show methyl and methylene peaks corresponding to PVNODC (or PA-18) and phenyl peaks corresponding to the PS. Analysis suggests that the methyl groups are tilted at angles less than 30 degrees with respect to the surface normal. The presence of a strong methylene peak suggests the PVNODC alkyl side chains contain more gauche defects at the PS/PVNODC interface in comparison to PVNODC (or PA-18)/air interfaces. On heating, the SFG intensity from the PS/PA-18 interface drops sharply near the bulk melting temperature (T(m)) of PA-18. Interestingly, a similar drop in SFG signal is also observed for the PS phenyl groups. This demonstrates the ability of the phenyl group at the PS/PA-18 interface to rearrange itself upon the solid-to-liquid transition of the PA-18 alkyl side chain, at a temperature well below the bulk PS glass transition temperature. For PS/PVNODC interfaces, the drop in SFG intensity is gradual and in agreement with the three broad transitions of PVNODC observed in the bulk.

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Journal of the American Chemical Society





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