Defining the nanostructured morphology of triblock copolymers using resonant soft X-ray scattering

Nano Lett. 2011 Sep 14;11(9):3906-11. doi: 10.1021/nl2020526. Epub 2011 Aug 9.


The morphologies of a poly(1,4-isoprene)-block-polystyrene-block-poly(2-vinyl pyridine) (IS2VP) copolymer were investigated using resonant soft X-ray scattering (RSoXS) together with scanning force microscopy, small-angle X-ray scattering, and electron microscopy. Differences in the nanoscopic morphologies in the bulk and thin film samples were observed arising from the competition between segmental interactions between the blocks and the substrate and the surface energies of each block. Using soft X-rays at selected photon energies to isolate the scattering contribution from different polymer blocks, RSoXS unambiguously defined the complex morphology of the triblock copolymer. In the bulk sample, two nested, hexagonal arrays of P2VP and PI cylindrical microdomains residing in the PS matrix were observed. The cylindrical microdomains of one component were found to be located at the interstitial sites of the hexagonal array of the other component that has the larger d spacing. In solvent-annealed thin films with 40 nm in thickness, a hexagonal array of core-shell microdomains of P2VP cores with PS shells that reside in a PI matrix were observed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.