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Printed Thin Diblock Copolymer Films with Dense Magnetic Nanostructure

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journal contribution
posted on 28.05.2019, 00:00 by Senlin Xia, Lin Song, Wei Chen, Volker Körstgens, Matthias Opel, Matthias Schwartzkopf, Stephan V. Roth, Peter Müller-Buschbaum
Thin hybrid films with dense magnetic structures for sensor applications are printed using diblock copolymer (DBC) templating magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs). To achieve a high-density magnetic structure, the printing ink is prepared by mixing polystyrene-block-poly­(methyl methacrylate) (PS-b-PMMA) with a large PS volume fraction and PS selective MNPs. Solvent vapor annealing is applied to generate a parallel cylindrical film morphology (with respect to the substrate), in which the MNP-residing PS domains are well separated by the PMMA matrix, and thus, the formation of large MNP agglomerates is avoided. Moreover, the morphologies of the printed thin films are determined as a function of the MNP concentration with real and reciprocal space characterization techniques. The PS domains are found to be saturated with MNPs at 1 wt %, at which the structural order of the hybrid films reaches a maximum within the studied range of MNP concentration. As a beneficial aspect, the MNP loading improves the morphological order of the thin DBC films. The dense magnetic structure endows the thin films with a faster superparamagnetic responsive behavior, as compared to thick films where identical MNPs are used, but dispersed inside the minority domains of the DBC.