American Chemical Society
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Thermal Processing as a Means to Prepare Durable, Submicron Thickness Ionomer Films for Study by Transmission Infrared Spectroscopy

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journal contribution
posted on 2012-10-02, 00:00 authored by Chang Kyu Byun, Tifani Parker, Chunchao Liang, Ian Kendrick, Nicholas Dimakis, Eugene S. Smotkin, Li-Mei Jin, Dongqing Zhuang, Darryl D. DesMarteau, Stephen E. Creager, Carol Korzeniewski
A high temperature solution processing method was adapted to prepare durable, freestanding, submicrometer thickness films for transmission infrared spectroscopy studies of ionomer membrane. The materials retain structural integrity following cleaning and ion-exchange steps in boiling solutions, similar to a commercial fuel cell membrane. Unlike commercial membrane, which typically has thicknesses of >25 μm, the structural properties of the submicrometer thickness materials can be probed in mid-infrared spectral measurements with the use of transmission sampling. Relative to the infrared attenuated total reflection (ATR) technique, transmission measurements can sample ionomer membrane materials more uniformly and suffer less distortion from optical effects. Spectra are reported for thermally processed Nafion and related perfluoroalkyl ionomer materials containing phosphonate and phosphinate moieties substituted for the sulfonate end group on the side chain. Band assignments for complex or unexpected features are aided by density functional theory (DFT) calculations.