Interfacial and volumetric sensitivity of the dry sintering process of polymer colloidal crystals: a thermal transport and photonic bandgap study†
We introduce the in situ characterization of the dry sintering process of face-centred cubic colloidal crystals by two complementary techniques: thermal transport and photonic stopband characterization. Therefore, we employed time-dependent, isothermal laser flash analysis and specular reflectivity experiments close to the glass transition temperature of the colloidal crystal. Both methods yield distinctly different time constants of the film formation process. This discrepancy can be attributed to a volume- (photonic stopband) and interface-driven (thermal transport) sensitivity of the respective characterization method. Nevertheless, both methods yield comparable apparent activation energies. Finally, we extended the sintering process characterization to further polymer compositions, with vastly different glass transition temperatures. We could show that the film formation rate is governed by the viscoelastic properties of the polymers at the respective annealing temperature.