Publication Details (including relevant citation information):
Pye, J. E.; Rohald, K. A.; Baker, E. A.; Roth, C. B. Macromolecules. 2010, 43, 8296-8303.
We have measured the temperature dependence of the physical aging rate β of thick (2430 nm) and thin (29 nm) polystyrene (PS) films supported on silicon using a new streamlined ellipsometry procedure that we have recently developed. The physical aging rates β(T) for the ∼30 nm thick films are found to be reduced at all temperatures, which is not consistent with a simple shift in β corresponding to the average reduced glass transition temperature (Tg) of these films. Instead, the β(T) results correspond well with there being a gradient in dynamics near the free surface. Our β(T) results can be well fit by both a two-layer model and a gradient model. The temperature-dependent length scale (of order 10 nm) that characterizes the depth to which the enhanced dynamics near the free surface propagate into the film is similar to that found previously by Forrest and Mattsson [Phys. Rev. E 2000, 61, R53−R56] for the molecular weight (MW)-independent Tg reductions of low-MW free-standing PS films, strongly suggesting that the same mechanism is responsible for both effects. This length scale grows with decreasing temperature, suggesting that the mechanism is cooperative in nature.
Address (URL): http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ma101412r