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  1. Favorable polymer-substrate interactions induce surface orientation fields in block copolymer (BCP) melts. In linear BCP processed near equilibrium, alignment of domains generally persists for a small number of periods (∼4–6 D 0 ) before randomization of domain orientation. Bottlebrush BCP are an emerging class of materials with distinct chain dynamics stemming from substantial molecular rigidity, enabling rapid assembly at ultrahigh (>100 nm) domain periodicities with strong photonic properties (structural color). This work assesses interface-induced ordering in PS- b -PLA bottle b rush diblock copolymer films during thermal annealing between planar surfaces. To clearly observe the decay in orientational order from surface to bulk, we choose to study micron-scale films spanning greater than 200 lamellar periods. In situ optical microscopy and transmission UV-Vis spectroscopy are used to monitor photonic properties during annealing and paired with ex situ UV-Vis reflection measurement, cross-sectional scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) to probe the evolution of domain microstructure. Photonic properties were observed to saturate within minutes of annealing at 150 °C, with distinct variation in transmission response as a function of film thickness. The depth of the highly aligned surface region was found to vary stochastically in the range of 30–100 lamellarmore »periods, with the sharpness of the orientation gradient decreasing substantially with increasing film thickness. This observation suggests a competition between growth of aligned, heterogeneously nucleated, grains at the surface and orientationally isotropic, homogeneously nucleated, grains throughout the bulk. This work demonstrates the high potential of bottlebrush block copolymers in rapid fabrication workflows and provides a point of comparison for future application of directed self-assembly to BBCP ordering.« less
  2. Organic Polymer-based photovoltaic systems offer a viable alternative to more standard solid-state devices for light-harvesting applications. In this study, we investigate the electronic dynamics of a model organic photovoltaic (OPV) heterojunction consisting of polyphenylene vinylene (PPV) oligomers and a [ 6,6 ] -phenyl C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) blend. Our approach treats the classical molecular dynamics of the atoms within an Ehrenfest mean-field treatment of the π - π ⁎ singly excited states spanning a subset of donor and acceptor molecules near the phase boundary of the blend. Our results indicate that interfacial electronic states are modulated by C=C bond stretching motions and that such motions induce avoided crossings between nearby excited states thereby facilitating transitions from localized excitonic configurations to delocalized charge-separated configurations on an ultrafast time-scale. The lowest few excited states of the model interface rapidly mix allowing low frequency C-C out-of-plane torsions to modulate the potential energy surface such that the system can sample both intermolecular charge-transfer and charge-separated electronic configurations on sub-100 fs time scales. Our simulations support an emerging picture of carrier generation in OPV systems in which interfacial electronic states can rapidly decay into charge-separated and current producing states via coupling to vibronic degrees ofmore »freedom.« less