Quantifying glass transition behavior in ultrathin free-standing polymer films
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We have used Brillouin light scattering to make a detailed study of the behavior of the glass transition temperature T(g) in ultrathin, free-standing polystyrene films. The glass transitions were experimentally identified as near discontinuities in the thermal expansion. The effects of film thickness, molecular weight, and thermal history on the measured T(g) values have been investigated. While the size of the glass transition effects was comparable for all molecular weights, a complicated M(n) dependence suggested a separation of the results into two regimes, each dominated by a different length scale: a low M(n) regime controlled by a length scale intrinsic to the glass transition and a high M(n) region, where polymer chain confinement induced effects take over.