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Title: Stability of Adsorbed Polystyrene Nanolayers on Silicon Substrates

The solid–polymer melt interface is of great scientific interest due to its vital importance in governing a wide array of physical and mechanical properties of polymer thin films. Recent studies have elucidated the coexistence of two different chain conformations of polymer chains adsorbed on a solid (i.e., loosely adsorbed chains and flattened chains). In this work, film stabilities of the polystyrene (PS) “interfacial sublayer” (composed of outer loosely adsorbed chains and inner flattened chains) and flattened layer (composed of the lone flattened chains) prepared on silicon (Si) substrates are investigated. The atomic force microscopy studies reveal that the as‐rinsed PS flattened layer is subjected to spinodal‐like dewetting during a post‐thermal annealing process even at temperatures below the bulk glass transition temperature. Furthermore, it is found that the surface morphology of the flattened layer can be reversibly changed from a homogeneous pattern under good solvent conditions to spinodal‐like droplets under poor solvent conditions. By contrast, it is found that the PS interfacial sublayer remains stable under both good and poor solvent conditions. These findings illuminate the role which density variations within the adsorbed layers play in the mechanism behind the wetting‐dewetting transition.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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