Self-assembly of grafted Y-shaped ABC triblock copolymers in solutions
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Self-assembled morphologies of grafted Y-shaped ABC triblock copolymers are investigated using a simulated annealing method. The block copolymers are composed of two incompatible arms (A and B) and a short stem (C), with the C-stems grafted onto a flat surface. A rich array of novel morphologies is discovered. The formation of these morphologies is controlled by polymer grafting density, the incompatibility between the A-B-blocks, as well as the quality and selectivity of the solvents. In particular, it is observed that solvent selectivity drives lateral and/or perpendicular microphase separation. A phase diagram for systems with low grafting density is constructed. It is predicted that multiple morphological transitions, such as these from mixed or core-shell micelles to internally segregated micelles, to hamburger-like micelles, to segmented wormlike micelles, to connected micelles, and to split micelles, can be induced by varying either the incompatibility between the two arms or the quality of the solvents. These results are consistent with previous experiments and theories.
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