Templating Polymer Crystal Growth Using Block Copolymers
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Block copolymers can spontaneously self-assemble to form periodic arrays of nanoscale domains. Incorporating crystallizable moieties within block copolymers can further increase their morphological richness and kinetic complexity. Significant progress has been made in the last decade in understanding polymer crystallization within these semicrystalline materials. For example, we now have a good handle on how crystallization occurs and what the final solid state structures are in these materials. Through a combination of reciprocal space scattering and real space microscopy experiments, we now also understand the requirements for patterning and controlling polymer crystallization using nanoscale periodic domains. This entry will attempt to recount the progress in this field.
Familiarity with the concepts of phase separation in block copolymers will be important in the understanding of the nature of polymer crystallization within block copolymers. The section below provides a brief overview of block copolymer phase separation. It is further divided into two subsections for the ease of discussion. Phase separation and its resulting complexities in amorphous systems as well as semicrystalline block copolymers are discussed.