Water-soluble top coats for orientation control of liquid crystal-containing block copolymer films

He Lou Xie, Xiao Li, Hyo Seon Suh, Jia Xing Ren, Ling Shu Wan, Gordon S.W. Craig, Christopher G. Arges, Paul F. Nealey

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An easily removable, water-soluble top coat of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) is used to control the orientation of microdomains in a liquid crystalline block copolymer (LC BCP, poly(ethylene oxide)-block-poly(6-(4-methoxy-azobenzene-4′-butyl) hexyl methacrylate)). The corresponding LC homopolymer is also investigated for comparison. Atomic force microscopy is used to determine the orientation of the cylindrical microdomains of the LC BCP. UV–vis spectroscopy and grazing incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering are used to determine the orientation of the LC mesogens in the LC homopolymer and the LC BCP films annealed both with and without a top coat. Once the LC BCP morphology is self-assembled, the PVP top coat layer can be easily removed with water or alcohol. The facile removal of the top coat improves the processability of BCPs in technological applications, and enables direct investigation of the BCP morphology in scientific studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1569-1574
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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