Research & Faculty

Default Header Image

Evaluation of an atomic force microscopy pull-off method for measuring molecular weight and polydispersity of polymer brushes: Effect of grafting density

TitleEvaluation of an atomic force microscopy pull-off method for measuring molecular weight and polydispersity of polymer brushes: Effect of grafting density
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsGoodman, D, Kizhakkedathu, JN, Brooks, DE
JournalLangmuir
Volume20
Pagination6238-6245
Date PublishedJul
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0743-7463
KeywordsCHAIN, DETACHMENT, DIBLOCK COPOLYMER MONOLAYERS, DYNAMICS, INTERFACE, LAYERS, NEUTRON REFLECTIVITY, SURFACE
Abstract

The accuracy of the molecular weights M-n and polydispersities of polymer brushes, determined by stretching the grafted chains using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and measuring the contour length distribution, was evaluated as a function of grafting density sigma. Poly(NN-dimethylacrvlamide) brushes were prepared by surface initiated atom transfer radical polymerization on latex particles with a ranging between 0.17 and 0.0059 chains/nm(2) and constant M-n. The polymer, which could be cleaved from the grafting surface by hydrolysis and characterized by gel permeation chromatography (GPC), had a M-n of 30 600 and polydispersity (PDI) of 1.35. The M-n determined by the AFM technique for the higher density brushes agreed quite well with the GPC results but was significantly underestimated for the lower sigma. At high grafting density in good solvent, the extended structure of the brush increases the probability of forming segment-tip contacts located at the chain end. When the distance between chains approached twice the radius of gyration of the polymer, the transition from brush to mushroom structure presumably enabled the formation of a larger number of segment-tip contacts having separations smaller than the contour length, which explains the discrepancy between the two methods at low sigma. The PDI was typically higher than that obtained by GPC, suggesting that sampling of chains with above average contour length occurs at sigma frequency that is greater than their spatial distribution.

URL<Go to ISI>://000222669800025