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Title: Interpreting Neutron Reflectivity Profiles of Diblock Copolymer Nanocomposite Thin Films Using Hybrid Particle-Field Simulations

Mixtures of block copolymers and nanoparticles (block copolymer nanocomposites) are known to microphase separate into a plethora of microstructures, depending on the composition, length scale and nature of interactions among its different constituents. Theoretical and experimental works on this class of nanocomposites have already high-lighted intricate relations among chemical details of the polymers, nanoparticles, and various microstructures. Confining these nanocomposites in thin films yields an even larger array of structures, which are not normally observed in the bulk. In contrast to the bulk, exploring various microstructures in thin films by the experimental route remains a challenging task. Here in this work, we construct a model for the thin films of lamellar forming diblock copolymers containing spherical nanoparticles based on a hybrid particle-field approach. The model is benchmarked by comparison with the depth profiles obtained from the neutron reflectivity experiments for symmetric poly(deuterated styrene-b-n butyl methacrylate) copolymers blended with spherical magnetite nanoparticles covered with hydrogenated poly(styrene) corona. We show that the model based on a hybrid particle-field approach provides details of the underlying microphase separation in the presence of the nanoparticles through a direct comparison to the neutron reflectivity data. This work benchmarks the application of the hybrid particle-field model tomore » extract the interaction parameters for exploring different microstructures in thin films containing block copolymers and nanocomposites.« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Science (CNMS); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Computational Sciences and Engineering Division
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Science (CNMS)
  3. Tech-X Corporation, Boulder, CO (United States)
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Neutron Scattering Division
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 51; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 0024-9297
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
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