Monday, July 29, 2013

1307.6952 (Shai Cohen et al.)

Solvent-diluted Block Copolymers: Bulk and Interfacial Phenomena    [PDF]

Shai Cohen, David Andelman
A phenomenological mean-field theory is used to investigate the properties of solvent-diluted di-block copolymers (BCP), in which the two BCP components (A and B) form a variety of phases that are diluted by a solvent (S). Using this approach, we model mixtures of di-block copolymers and a solvent, and obtained the three-component phase diagram and its critical behavior. In the low solvent limit, we find how the critical point depends on the solvent density. Due to the non-linear nature of the coupling between the A/B and BCP/solvent concentrations, the A/B modulation induces modulations in the polymer-solvent relative concentration with a double wavenumber. The free boundary separating the polymer-rich phase from the solvent-rich one is studied in two situations. First, we show how the presence of a chemically patterned substrate leads to deformations of the BCP film/solvent interface, creation of terraces in lamellar BCP film and even formation of multi-domain droplets as induced by the patterned substrate. Second, we compare the surface tension between parallel lamellae coexisting with a solvent phase with that of a perpendicular one, and show that the surface tension has a non-monotonic dependence on temperature. The anisotropic surface tension can lead to deformation of spherical BCP droplets into lens-shaped ones, together with re-orientation of the lamellae inside the droplet during the polymer/solvent phase separation process.
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