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Hydrodynamically Driven Self-Assembly of Block Copolymers Studied by On-Line Small Angle X-Ray Scattering

P. Panine
European Synchrotron Radiation Facility E.S.R.F., FR

block copolymer, rheo-SAXS, self-assembly, X-Ray, microphase separation

A new technique of controlling the supramolecular structure of block copolymer solutions is presented. It consists in monitoring by small angle x-ray scattering the large-scale structure of soft condensed matter and simultaneously recording its rheological parameters. This setup developed for 3rd generation high flux synchrotron radiation permits as well to investigate the transients during the establishment of the flow down to time scale of the millisecond range. For the first time, systems composed of organic and volatile solvents or at temperature close to solvent boiling point, i.e. in conditions close to processing can be studied. The complementarity of the two techniques rheology and x-ray scattering are self-seeding the analysis of polymeric behavior under shear. This combined knowledge allows to develop new processing path and becomes a key advantage for film deposition technologies. Indeed, by providing a strict control of the thermodynamical conditions and of hydrodynamical field during deposition, large mono-oriented domains could be tailored. The organization of nanometric lamellae will be demonstrated to be parallel or perpendicular to the shear plane depending on the hydrodynamical field applied. Peculiar behavior on microphase separated cylindrical phase will also be shown.

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