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Issue 20, 2012
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Relaxation of single polymer chain in binary molecular weight blends observed by scanning near-field optical microscopy

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Abstract

The conformational relaxation of single polymer chains in uniaxially elongated poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) films were examined by direct observation using scanning near-field optical microscopy (SNOM) and excitation polarization modulation microscopy (EPMM). The relaxation behavior of the individual PMMA chains was investigated in the binary blend systems consisting of high and low molecular weight components. The whole chain dimension and the segmental orientation were evaluated for high molecular weight long chains from SNOM and EPMM images, respectively. At the early stage of the stress relaxation process, not only the segmental orientation but also the whole chain dimension of the long chain decreased faster in matrices with short chains. This indicates that the relaxation at the whole chain scale is accelerated by disentanglement, which is caused by the motion of the short surrounding chains. The fast relaxation in the whole chain dimension cannot be explained by the constraint release picture in the theoretical models, which assumes that the disentanglement only activates the local motion of the long chain.

Graphical abstract: Relaxation of single polymer chain in binary molecular weight blends observed by scanning near-field optical microscopy

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
06 Feb 2012
Accepted
20 Mar 2012
First published
13 Apr 2012

Soft Matter, 2012,8, 5603-5611
Article type
Paper

Relaxation of single polymer chain in binary molecular weight blends observed by scanning near-field optical microscopy

T. Ube, H. Aoki, S. Ito, J. Horinaka and T. Takigawa, Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 5603
DOI: 10.1039/C2SM25272D

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