Polymer, Vol.51, No.15, 3486-3492, 2010
Structure and phase transition in thin films of block copolymer micelles complexed with inorganic precursors
Block copolymer micelle can be used as nano-reactor where separated domains serve as a compartment for the production of nanomaterials, ultimately creating nanocomposite materials. In this work, thin nanocomposite films generated from polystyrene-b-poly(acrylic acid) (PS-b-PAA) micellar solution in which small amount of inorganic precursor was added were investigated. The films were prepared by spin coating onto silicon substrate, and then solvent-annealed. As-spun films exhibit typical micellar structure with spherical shape along which inorganic nanoparticles are dispersed. Such morphology remains unchanged after solvent annealing for micellar films with small amount of inorganic precursor. However, further increase in the amount of inorganic precursors brings about the morphological changes, producing different organization of inorganic nanoparticles in composite films. This behavior was found to strongly depend on the types of precursors and solvents used for annealing. These results illustrate a simple yet useful route to generate the polymeric nanocomposites with diverse structure and composition. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.