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The kinetics of phase separation in thin polymer blend films displaying discrete and bicontinuous domain morphologies are examined. For discrete domains, the correlation length ξ grows as t1/3, in agreement with a coalescence model. By plotting ξ/d vs t/ti (initiation time), universal growth behavior is obtained for thickness values (d) from 1000 to 190 nm. In contrast, bicontinuous domains grow with a decreasing exponent, 0.62 to 0.28, as d decreases from 900 to 90 nm (i.e., no universal growth). This slowing down with reduced dimensionality suggests suppression of lateral hydrodynamic pumping.
Date Posted: 20 December 2005
This document has been peer reviewed.