Shape variation of micelles in polymer thin films
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The equilibrium properties of block copolymer micelles confined in polymer thin films are investigated using self-consistent field theory. The theory is based on a model system consisting of AB diblock copolymers and A homopolymers. Two different methods, based on the radius of gyration tensor and the spherical harmonics expansion, are used to characterize the micellar shape. The results reveal that the morphology of micelles in thin films depends on the thickness of the thin films and the selectivity of the confining surfaces. For spherical (cylindrical) micelles, the spherical (cylindrical) symmetry is broken by the presence of the one-dimensional confinement, whereas the top-down symmetry is broken by the selectivity of the confining surfaces. Morphological transitions from spherical or cylindrical micelles to cylinders or lamella are predicted when the film thickness approaches the micellar size.
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