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Bimodal crystallization at polymer–fullerene interfaces

Dyfrig Môn, Anthony Higgins Orcid Logo, David James, Mark Hampton, J. Emyr Macdonald, Michael B. Ward, Philipp Gutfreund, Samuele Lilliu, Jonathan Rawle

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., Volume: 17, Issue: 3, Pages: 2216 - 2227

Swansea University Author: Anthony Higgins Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1039/c4cp04253k

Abstract

The growth-kinetics of [6,6]-phenyl C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) crystals, on two different length-scales, is shown to be controlled by the thickness of the polymer layer within a PCBM–polymer bilayer. Using a model amorphous polymer we present evidence, from in situ optical microscopy and g...

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Published in: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys.
ISSN: 1463-9076 1463-9084
Published: 2015
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa20765
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Abstract: The growth-kinetics of [6,6]-phenyl C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) crystals, on two different length-scales, is shown to be controlled by the thickness of the polymer layer within a PCBM–polymer bilayer. Using a model amorphous polymer we present evidence, from in situ optical microscopy and grazing-incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXD), that an increased growth-rate of nanoscale crystals impedes the growth of micron-sized, needle-like PCBM crystals. A combination of neutron reflectivity and GIXD measurements, also allows us to observe the establishment of a liquid–liquid equilibrium composition-profile between the PCBM layer and a polymer-rich layer, before crystallization occurs. While the interfacial composition-profile is independent of polymer-film-thickness, the growth-rate of nanoscale PCBM crystals is significantly larger for thinner polymer films. A similar thickness-dependent behavior is observed for different molecular weights of entangled polymer. We suggest that the behavior may be related to enhanced local-polymer-chain-mobility in nanocomposite thin-films.
College: Faculty of Science and Engineering
Issue: 3
Start Page: 2216
End Page: 2227