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Optimizing the Grafting Density of Tethered Chains to Alter the Local Glass Transition Temperature of Polystyrene near Silica Substrates: The Advantage of Mushrooms over Brushes

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journal contribution
posted on 09.02.2018, 12:19 by Xinru Huang, Connie B. Roth
We measured the local glass transition temperature Tg(z) of polystyrene (PS) as a function of distance z from a silica substrate with end-grafted chains using fluorescence, where competing effects from the free surface have been avoided to focus only on the influence of the tethered interface. The local Tg(z) increase next to the chain-grafted substrate is found to exhibit a maximum increase of 49 ± 2 K relative to bulk at an optimum grafting density that corresponds to the mushroom-to-brush transition regime. This perturbation to the local Tg(z) dynamics of the matrix is observed to persist out to a distance z ≈ 100–125 nm for this optimum grafting density before bulk Tg is recovered, a distance comparable to that previously observed by Baglay and Roth [J. Chem. Phys. 2017, 146, 203307] for PS next to the higher-Tg polymer polysulfone.