American Chemical Society
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Domain Structures of Poly(3-dodecylthiophene)-Based Block Copolymers Depend on Regioregularity

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-05-18, 18:33 authored by Jin-Seong Kim, Junghun Han, Youngkwon Kim, Hyeonjung Park, Jonathan P. Coote, Gila E. Stein, Bumjoon J. Kim
Microphase-separation behavior of conjugated–amorphous block copolymers (BCPs) is driven by a complex interplay between Flory–Huggins interaction (χ), liquid crystalline (LC) interaction, and crystallization. Herein, in order to elucidate the influence of LC interaction on the morphology of the BCPs, we report the effects of regioregularity (RR) on the microphase separation and molecular packing structures of poly­(3-dodecyl­thiophene)-block-poly­(2-vinyl­pyridine) (P3DDT-b-P2VP). To decouple the effect of LC interactions from crystallization kinetics, we investigate the morphological behavior of the P3DDT-b-P2VP at above the melting temperature of P3DDT (∼160 °C). Both electron microscopy and X-ray scattering show an abrupt reduction in the domain spacing of both lamellar and cylindrical phases as the RR of P3DDT block increases. Specifically, lower RR (i.e., 85, 79, and 70%) BCPs have larger domain spacings than high RR (94%) by 50% (lamellar) or 80% (cylindrical), even though the overall molecular weights and P2VP volume fractions were similar for each RR. We propose that the RR-driven transition in domain spacing is caused by a change in P3DDT conformations and interchain interactions. When RR is low, the system assembles into a typical bilayer structure like other semiflexible and flexible block copolymer systems. When RR is high, the less flexible P3DDT chains are extended, driving their assembly into an LC monolayer. Significantly, this study demonstrates that tunable RR provides a simple route to manipulate melt state self-assembly of conjugated–amorphous materials.