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Characterization of Spin Coated Polymers in Nano-environments as a Function of Film Thickness
Beck, Catherine Keel
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Polymer applications have become more demanding as industry continuously turns to more microscopic parts. Due to the interactions of the polymer chains with the supporting surface and the air interface, the thinner films required for such applications have distinctly different properties than those of the well-defined bulk systems. The goal of the current research is to elucidate the behavior of ultrathin films. Two separate studies were performed on thin films supported on silicon wafer substrates: the first focuses on the viscoelastic cooperativity of thin films, and the second concentrates on the morphological behavior of polymer brush films. For the first study, polymethyl methacrylate films were spin coated onto silicon wafers, and the film thickness was determined using ellipsometry. A series of thin films were examined using techniques such as dielectric analysis and thermal mechanical analysis. The theory of cooperativity, which explains polymeric behavior using the intermolecular and intramolecular forces among polymer chains, was employed to understand the behavior of these thin films. Another type of thin film, a polymer brush, was investigated in the second study. Polymer brushes are formed by chemically bonding one end of many polymer chains to a substrate. The other ends of the chains can interact with the surrounding environment creating a brush-like structure. Constraining one end of a polymer chain alters the behavior of such a thin film. Polymer brushes of the di-block copolymer poly(t-butyl methacrylate) and polystyrene were produced on silicon wafers using spin coating techniques. The effects of both grafting density and solvent washes were analyzed using contact angle analysis and atomic force microscopy. In addition, hydrolysis was successfully performed on existing polymer brush samples to produce polymer brushes of the di-block copolymer polymethyl acrylic acid and polystyrene.
- Masters Theses