|482. Halevi, A.; Halivni, S.; Oded, M.; Müller, A.H.E.; Banin, U.; Shenhar, R.: Co-assembly of A-B Diblock Copolymers with B'-type Nanoparticles in Thin Films: Effect of Copolymer Composition and Nanoparticle Shape, Macromolecules 47, 3022-3032 (2014) -- DOI: 10.1021/ma402416g|
The coassembly of A–B diblock copolymers with B′-type nanoparticles (i.e., nanoparticles that are slightly incompatible with the B domain) leads to hierarchical structures, where the block copolymer phase separates first and the nanoparticles create close-packed arrays within the B domains due to a slower, secondary phase separation process. Here we report the results of a comprehensive study, which focused on two aspects: the influence of the nanoparticle shape (spherical vs rod-like) and the effect of the volume composition of the blocks. Three polystyrene-block-poly(methyl methacrylate) (PS-b-PMMA) copolymers featuring similar molecular weights but differing in PS volume fraction were mixed with spherical and rod-shaped poly(ethylene oxide)- (PEO-) capped CdS nanoparticles at different filling fractions and cast as thin films. Our results highlight the mutual influence between the block copolymer and the nanoparticles on the resulting morphology, demonstrating the ability to control the film morphology by the filling fraction of the nanoparticles and their tendency to localize at the film surface, and by confinement-induced nanoparticle aggregation. Most importantly, the results reveal the influence of the nanoparticle shape on the structure of the film.