283449 Magnetic Field Directed Self-Assembly of Block Copolymers and Polymer Nanocomposites for Functional Materials

Monday, October 29, 2012: 9:00 AM
Allegheny I (Westin )
Chinedum Osuji, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT

The ability to transform matter that displays novel physics and properties into useful materials and devices is indivisibly linked to the ability to reliably control structure on length scales of interest. While this has been well advanced in hard materials, by contrast, the generation of self-assembled soft matter with arbitrary orientations on length scales beyond 1 mm remains surprisingly challenging. An important goal in this context is the development of approaches that enable reliable control of morphology in thin films of microphase separated block copolymers (BCPs) and polymer nanocomposites. For a broad spectrum of applications ranging from separations membranes to photovoltaics, the need in particular is for control over the out-of-plane ordering of the system, such as in the production of vertically aligned nanostructures. Under appropriate conditions, magnetic fields offer a simple route to directing self-assembly of soft matter systems over large length scales in the above described manner. Here we discuss the interaction of magnetic fields with various soft mesophases and the conditions which enable their alignment. Key points are addressed including degeneracy of alignment and overcoming interfacial effects. The role of magnetic fields on order-disorder transitions in block copolymers is examined using novel in-situ scattering studies of systems under high fields. Examples of functional material systems for energy generation and water purification are highlighted.

This work was conducted with support from NSF under DMR-0847534. Part of this work was conducted at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials which is sponsored at Brookhaven National Lab by the Office of Science of the Department of Energy.

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