|493. Bryson, K.C.; Löbling, T.I.; Müller, A.H.E.; Russell, T.P.; Hayward, R.C.: Using Janus Nanoparticles to Trap Polymer Blend Morphologies during Solvent-Evaporation-Induced Demixing (ACS Editors’ Choice), Macromolecules 48, 4220-4227 (2015) -- DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.5b00640|
Using ternary blends of polystyrene (PS), poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), and Janus particles (JPs) with symmetric PS and PMMA hemispheres, we demonstrate the stabilization of dispersed and bicontinuous phase-separated morphologies by the interfacial adsorption of Janus particles during demixing upon solvent removal. The resulting blend morphology could be varied by changing the blend composition and JP loading. Increasing particle loading decreased the size of phase-separated domains, while altering the mixing ratio of the PS/PMMA homopolymers produced morphologies ranging from PMMA droplets in a PS matrix to PS droplets in a PMMA matrix. Notably, bicontinuous morphologies were obtained at intermediate blend compositions, marking the first report of highly continuous domains obtained through demixing in a blend compatibilized by Janus particles. The JPs were found to assemble in a densely packed monolayer at the interface, allowing for the stabilization of bicontinuous morphologies in films above the glass transition temperature by inhibiting coarsening and coalescence of the phase-separated domains. The rate of solvent evaporation from the drop-cast films and the molecular weights of the homopolymers were found to greatly affect blend morphology.