Nucleation of various ordered phases in block copolymers is studied by examining the free-energy landscape within the self-consistent field theory. The minimum energy path (MEP) connecting two ordered phases is computed using a recently developed string method. The shape, size, and free-energy barrier of critical nuclei are obtained from the MEP, providing information about the emergence of a stable ordered phase from a metastable phase. In particular, structural evolution of embryonic gyroid nucleus is predicted to follow two possible MEPs, revealing an interesting transition pathway with an intermediate perforated layered structure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)