Microphase separation in the melts of diblock copolymers with amphiphilic blocks
Self-assembly of graft diblock copolymers is an actual topic in the development of materials with desirable properties. In the paper, microphase separation in a melt of the diblock copolymer with amphiphilic and non-amphiphilic blocks is investigated using the analytical theory in the strong segregation approximation. Non-amphiphilic blocks are strongly immiscible with the backbone chains of amphiphilic ones but miscible with their side chains. In the theory, the amphiphilic units are considered as dimers, which can easily orient at interfaces. In the case of weakly amphiphilic dimers, the interfacial tension at a flat interface is calculated using density-functional theory. The amphiphilicity effect leads to a decrease in the surface tension and, hence, to weakening of the block stretching and decrease of the spatial period of the structure. In the case of strongly amphiphilic dimers, the phase diagrams are calculated taking into account basic morphological types (spheres and inverse spheres of amphiphilic blocks, cylinders and inverse cylinders, and lamellae). If the amphiphilicity effects dominate, the characteristic size of the amphiphilic block domain is equal to the side chain length, spherical and cylindrical micelles are formed only at very low fractions of the amphiphilic blocks, the lamellae are formed at slightly larger factions, and the micelles from non-amphiphilic blocks are separated by thin interconnected layers from amphiphilic blocks in the broad range of compositions.