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Blending Homopolymers for Controlling the Morphology Transitions of Block Copolymer Nanorods Confined in Cylindrical Nanopores
M.-H. Cheng, Y.-C. Hsu, C.-W. Chang, H.-W. Ko, P.-Y. Chung, and J.-T. Chen*


The microphase separation of block copolymers in confined geometries has been widely investigated over the last few decades. The controllability and versatility of the confinement-induced morphologies, however, are still difficult to be achieved because of the limited experimental parameters in the process of fabricating the confined nanostructures. In this work, we study the morphology transitions of lamellae-forming polystyrene-block-polydimethylsiloxane (PS-b-PDMS) nanorods confined in the nanopores of anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) templates. The nanorods are formed by solvent-assisted template wetting, and the morphologies are compared to those in the bulk state. By blending PS-b-PDMS with homopolystyrene (hPS), the morphologies of the nanorods can be controlled because of the changes of the effective volume fractions. Special morphology transitions from concentric lamellar morphology, to multihelical morphology, and finally to spherical-like morphology are observed by increasing the weight ratios of hPS. hPS with different molecular weights is also applied to investigate the effect of hPS on the morphologies of the PS-b-PDMS/hPS blend nanostructures. The unusual morphologies are further confirmed by a selective removal process, which also generates nanochannels for possible refilling with functional materials.

ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 9 , 21010 (2017)