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Tunable Nanopatterns via the Constrained Dewetting of Polymer Brushes

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posted on 13.08.2013, 00:00 by Thomas Lee, Shaun C. Hendy, Chiara Neto
Coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations were used to investigate the morphology and dynamics of nanopatterns formed by grafted polymer brushes on a nonadsorbing substrate as a result of constrained dewetting. As a good solvent is made to gradually evaporate, polymer brushes with low to moderate grafting density collapse into discrete nanosized aggregates, with different types of nanopatterns possible, including pancake micelles and holey layers. The type of pattern, the size and number of features, and their dynamics depend on the grafting density of the polymer brush and amount of good solvent adsorbed. The final pattern morphology depends primarily on the total amount of material adsorbed to the surface, including both polymer and solvent. This result suggests the possibility for the use of polymer brushes as surfaces with reversibly tunable nanopatterns.