Polymer surface and thin film vibrational dynamics of poly(methyl methacrylate), polybutadiene, and polystyrene

Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States
The Journal of Chemical Physics (Impact Factor: 2.95). 08/2008; 129(4):044906. DOI: 10.1063/1.2939018
Source: PubMed


Inelastic helium atom scattering has been used to investigate the vibrational dynamics at the polymer vacuum interface of poly(methyl methacrylate), polystyrene, and polybutadiene thin films on SiO(x)Si(100). Experiments were performed for a large range of surface temperatures below and above the glass transition of these three polymers. The broad multiphonon feature that arises in the inelastic scattering spectra at surface temperatures between 175 and 500 K is indicative of the excitation of a continuum of surface vibrational modes. Similarities exist in the line shapes of the scattering spectra, indicating that helium atoms scatter from groups of similar mass on the surface of these polymer thin films. The line shapes obtained were further analyzed using a semiclassical scattering model. This study has shown that quite different polymer thin films can have similar interfacial dynamics at the topmost molecular layer.

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