3 years ago

How Do Organic Vapors Swell Ultrathin Films of Polymer of Intrinsic Microporosity PIM-1?

How Do Organic Vapors Swell Ultrathin Films of Polymer of Intrinsic Microporosity PIM-1?
Xiaohua Ma, Sebastian Bernhard Rauer, Ingo Pinnau, Bader Ghanem, Khosorov Rahimi, Wojciech Ogieglo, Matthias Wessling
Dynamic sorption of ethanol and toluene vapor into ultrathin supported films of polymer of intrinsic microporosity PIM-1 down to a thickness of 6 nm are studied with a combination of in situ spectroscopic ellipsometry and in situ X-ray reflectivity. Both ethanol and toluene significantly swell the PIM-1 matrix and, at the same time, induce persistent structural relaxations of the frozen-in glassy PIM-1 morphology. For ethanol below 20 nm, three effects were identified. First, the swelling magnitude at high vapor pressures is reduced by about 30% as compared to that of thicker films. Second, at low penetrant activities (below 0.3p/p0), films below 20 nm are able to absorb slightly more penetrant as compared with thicker films despite a similar swelling magnitude. Third, for the ultrathin films, the onset of the dynamic penetrant-induced glass transition Pg has been found to shift to higher values, indicating higher resistance to plasticization. All of these effects are consistent with a view where immobilization of the superglassy PIM-1 at the substrate surface leads to an arrested, even more rigid, and plasticization-resistant, yet still very open, microporous structure. PIM-1 in contact with the larger and more condensable toluene shows very complex, heterogeneous swelling dynamics, and two distinct penetrant-induced relaxation phenomena, probably associated with the film outer surface and the bulk, are detected. Following the direction of the penetrant’s diffusion, the surface seems to plasticize earlier than the bulk, and the two relaxations remain well separated down to 6 nm film thickness, where they remarkably merge to form just a single relaxation.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b03891

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b03891

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