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Langmuir. 2006 Oct 10;22(21):8642-5.

Tunable instability mechanisms of polymer thin films by molecular self-assembly.

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Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA.


Incorporation of a block copolymer into a thin polymer film is observed to alter both the rate and mechanism by which the film dewets from an immiscible polymer substrate. Films with little or no copolymer dewet by classical nucleation and growth of circular holes, and the dewetting rate decreases with increasing copolymer concentration. Increasing the copolymer content at constant film thickness generates copolymer micelles that adsorb/aggregate along the polymer/polymer interface and promote nonclassical dewetting fluctuations similar in appearance to spinodal dewetting. At higher copolymer concentrations, dewetting proceeds after a lengthy induction period by the nucleation and growth of flower-shaped holes suggestive of film pinning or viscous fingering. Atomic force microscopy of the polymer/polymer interface after removal of the top film by selective dissolution reveals substantial structural development due to copolymer self-assembly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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