Title page for ETD etd-08152001-160853

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Beck, Catherine Keel
URN etd-08152001-160853
Title Characterization of Spin Coated Polymers in Nano-environments as a Function of Film Thickness
Degree Master of Science
Department Chemistry
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Ward, Thomas C. Committee Chair
Dillard, John G. Committee Member
Esker, Alan R. Committee Member
  • Polymer Brushes
  • Cooperativity
  • Thin films
Date of Defense 2001-07-26
Availability unrestricted
Polymer applications have become more demanding as industry continuously

turns to more microscopic parts. Due to the interactions of the polymer chains with the

supporting surface and the air interface, the thinner films required for such applications

have distinctly different properties than those of the well-defined bulk systems. The goal

of the current research is to elucidate the behavior of ultrathin films. Two separate

studies were performed on thin films supported on silicon wafer substrates: the first

focuses on the viscoelastic cooperativity of thin films, and the second concentrates on the

morphological behavior of polymer brush films.

For the first study, polymethyl methacrylate films were spin coated onto silicon

wafers, and the film thickness was determined using ellipsometry. A series of thin films

were examined using techniques such as dielectric analysis and thermal mechanical

analysis. The theory of cooperativity, which explains polymeric behavior using the

intermolecular and intramolecular forces among polymer chains, was employed to

understand the behavior of these thin films.

Another type of thin film, a polymer brush, was investigated in the second study.

Polymer brushes are formed by chemically bonding one end of many polymer chains to a

substrate. The other ends of the chains can interact with the surrounding environment

creating a brush-like structure. Constraining one end of a polymer chain alters the

behavior of such a thin film. Polymer brushes of the di-block copolymer poly(t-butyl

methacrylate) and polystyrene were produced on silicon wafers using spin coating

techniques. The effects of both grafting density and solvent washes were analyzed using

contact angle analysis and atomic force microscopy. In addition, hydrolysis was

successfully performed on existing polymer brush samples to produce polymer brushes of

the di-block copolymer polymethyl acrylic acid and polystyrene.

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