Research on the enhanced ordering of block copolymer thin films
Researchers in the X-ray and neutron structural analysis group have succeeded in research on the enhanced ordering of block copolymer thin films upon addition of magnetic nanoparticles. The research was published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
In the field of research on polymers and their compositions, the study of block copolymer thin films is still a topical issue. Scientists in the X-ray and neutron structural analysis group of the IMC have been dealing with the technique of enhancing thin films of a block copolymer with the support of the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic for almost 4 years.
Various laterally-arranged structures can be obtained in thin layers of copolymer. "In the new study, we have selectively attached Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles to one of the blocks of polystyrene-b-poly(4-vinylpyridine) and then created an ultra-thin hybrid film with polymer domains organized over a long distance," says the lead author of the publication, Dr. Magdalena Konefał. This technique could be further used in electromagnetic shielding, magnetic data storage or sensor applications. "By changing the chemical composition and physical conditions, we can tune the distance between the domains and in such a way we can tune the distance between the bounded nanoparticles. Thanks to the chosen dip-coating technique, we are able to increase the size of the block copolymer films almost indefinitely,” adds Dr. Alexander Zhigunov, head of the X-ray and neutron structural analysis group.
During the review process of the scientific paper, scientists from the IMC have established fruitful cooperation with Dr. Karol Załęski from NanoBioMedical Center of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, who provided the characterization of copolymer films using SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device) magnetometry for publication.