Electric field alignment in thin films of cylinder-forming diblock copolymer
Matsen, M. W. (2006) Electric field alignment in thin films of cylinder-forming diblock copolymer. Macromolecules, 39 (16). pp. 5512-5520. ISSN 0024-9297
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We investigate thin films of cylinder-forming diblock copolymer confined between electrically charged parallel plates, using self-consistent-field theory ( SCFT) combined with an exact treatment for linear dielectric materials. Our study focuses on the competition between the surface interactions, which tend to orient cylinder domains parallel to the plates, and the electric field, which favors a perpendicular orientation. The effect of the electric field on the relative stability of the competing morphologies is demonstrated with equilibrium phase diagrams, calculated with the aid of a weak-field approximation. As hoped, modest electric fields are shown to have a significant stabilizing effect on perpendicular cylinders, particularly for thicker films. Our improved SCFT-based treatment removes most of the approximations implemented by previous approaches, thereby managing to resolve outstanding qualitative inconsistencies among different approximation schemes.