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Chin. Phys. B, 2015, Vol. 24(4): 046402    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/24/4/046402
CONDENSED MATTER: STRUCTURAL, MECHANICAL, AND THERMAL PROPERTIES Prev   Next  

Self-assembly of lamella-forming diblock copolymers confined in nanochannels: Effect of confinement geometry

Yu Bina, Deng Jian-Huaa, Wang Zhengb, Li Bao-Huib, Shi An-Changc
a Department of Physics and Materials Science, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300387, China;
b School of Physics, Key Laboratory of Functional Polymer Materials, Ministry of Education, Nankai University, and Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemical Science and Engineering (Tianjin), Tianjin 300071, China;
c Department of Physics and Astronomy, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4M1, Canada
Abstract  

The self-assembly of symmetric diblock copolymers confined in the channels of variously shaped cross sections (regular triangles, squares, and ellipses) is investigated using a simulated annealing technique. In the bulk, the studied symmetric diblock copolymers form a lamellar structure with period LL. The geometry and surface property of the confining channels have a large effect on the self-assembled structures and the orientation of the lamellar structures. Stacked perpendicular lamellae with period LL are observed for neutral surfaces regardless of the channel shape and size, but each lamella is in the shape of the corresponding channel's cross section. In the case of triangle-shaped cross sections, stacked parallel lamellae are the majority morphologies for weakly selective surfaces, while morphologies including a triangular-prism-shaped B-cylinder and multiple tridentate lamellae are obtained for strongly selective surfaces. In the cases of square-shaped and ellipse-shaped cross sections, concentric lamellae are the signature morphology for strongly selective surfaces, whereas for weakly selective surfaces, stacked parallel lamellae, and several types of folding lamellae are obtained in the case of square-shaped cross sections, and stacked parallel lamellae are the majority morphologies in the case of ellipse-shaped cross sections when the length of the minor axis is commensurate with the bulk lamellar period. The mean-square end-to-end distance, the average contact number between different species and the surface concentration of the A-monomers are computed to elucidate the mechanisms of the formation of the different morphologies. It is found that the resulting morphology is a consequence of competition among the chain stretching, interfacial energy, and surface energy. Our results suggest that the self-assembled morphology and the orientation of lamellae can be manipulated by the shape, the size, and the surface property of the confining channels.

Keywords:  diblock copolymers      self-assembly      confinement geometry      phase behavior  
Received:  29 September 2014      Revised:  20 November 2014      Published:  05 April 2015
PACS:  64.75.Jk (Phase separation and segregation in nanoscale systems)  
  64.75.Yz (Self-assembly)  
  83.80.Uv (Block copolymers)  
  83.80.Sg (Polymer melts)  
Fund: 

Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11204215, 51302187, 20990234, 20925414, 21204040, and 91227121), the Natural Science Foundation of Tianjin City, China (Grant Nos. 12JCYBJC32500 and 14JCZDJC32100), the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University (PCSIRT) (Grant No. IRT1257), and the 111 Project. A. C. Shi gratefully acknowledges the supports from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.

Corresponding Authors:  Yu Bin, Li Bao-Hui     E-mail:  stevenyubin@163.com;baohui@nankai.edu.cn

Cite this article: 

Yu Bin, Deng Jian-Hua, Wang Zheng, Li Bao-Hui, Shi An-Chang Self-assembly of lamella-forming diblock copolymers confined in nanochannels: Effect of confinement geometry 2015 Chin. Phys. B 24 046402

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