The effect of preferential wetting of one of the constituent block chains and corresponding block copolymer morphologies to a carbon substrate is studied from a molecular level. The single chain distribution of the block copolymer was estimated as a function of the distance from the substrate by a combined method of transmission electron microtomography (TEMT) and self-consistent field (SCF) simulation. The former provides three-dimensional (3D) morphological information of cylindrical microdomains near the surface, while the latter utilizes the 3D morphology to quantitatively determine the interaction between the block chains and substrate, which is further used to estimate the single chain distribution of one of the block chains, i.e., the subchain, of the matrix. It was found that the subchains in the vicinity of the wetting layer are substantially compressed, while the radius of gyration of the subchain at a distance L (L is the interlayer distance of the cylindrical microdomains from the substrate) has already reached the same value as that in the bulk, indicating that the propagation of the surface interaction is limited to one layer. The methodology developed in this study can be used not only to estimate the surface effect on polymer chains for a variety of different surfaces, but also to provide a means to understand complicated block copolymer morphologies from a molecular level.
- Block copolymer
- SCF simulation
- Surface interaction
- Transmission electron microtomography