Revealing Interfacial Interactions in Random Copolymer Adsorbed Layers by Solvent Leaching

Mary J.B. Davis, Katelyn Randazzo, Biao Zuo, Rodney D. Priestley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Annealing a supported polymer film in the melt state results in the growth of an irreversibly adsorbed layer, which has been shown to influence thin film properties such as diffusion and glass transition temperature. Adsorbed layer growth is attributed to many simultaneous interactions between individual monomer units and the substrate, stabilizing chains against desorption. In this study, adsorbed layers of polystyrene (PS), poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), and their random copolymers are isolated by select solvents. While PS adsorbed layer thickness is largely unaffected by the choice of washing solvent, the PMMA adsorbed layer completely desorbs when washed with tetrahydrofuran and chloroform, as opposed to toluene. Scaling relationships between adsorbed layer thickness and degree of chain adsorption at the substrate enable the use of adsorbed layer thickness to probe specific polymer-substrate interactions. Composition-dependent desorption trends indicate non-preferential adsorption between styrene and methyl methacrylate repeat units at the substrate, despite differences in substrate interaction strength. This insight contributes to the developing mechanism for the adsorption of random copolymers during melt-state annealing, further extending the ability to predict processing-inducted changes to the properties of polymer thin films to heterogeneous systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1900582
JournalMacromolecular Rapid Communications
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry


  • adsorption
  • copolymers
  • interfaces
  • solubility
  • solvents


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