Single molecule study on the conformation, orientation and diffusion anisotropy of conjugated polymer chains in a liquid crystal matrix
MetadataShow full item record
The nature of the solvent plays an important role in the conformation and orientation of polymers in solution. A particularly interesting case is when the solvent itself possesses order, such as when dissolving the polymer in a LC. In this dissertation, the morphology and diffusion behavior of the conjugated, stiff polymer MEH-PPV, (poly[2-methoxy-5((2-ethylhexyl)oxy)-1,4-phenylenevinylene]), in liquid crystal (LC) solvents have been investigated. Using polarization sensitive fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, it was found that in a nematic LC the polymer molecules are extended and highly aligned parallel with the nematic director. The conformation and orientational order of MEH-PPV increase with chain stiffness as a result of an interplay among the conformational entropy, solvation anisotropy, and bending energy of the polymer chains. In the smectic phase, about 10% of the MEH-PPV molecules are aligned perpendicular to the director in between the smectice layers, an effect not previously observed for a polymer solute. When applying an external electric field across the LC cell, the LC director changes orientation from a planar to a homeotropic alignment. The MEH-PPV chains remain aligned parallel with the LC director with applied field in the bulk of the LC device. However, the local structure near the LC-substrate interface is more complex. Single molecule polarization distributions measured as a function of distance from the LC device interface allow us to use MEH-PPV as sensitive local probe to explore complex structures in anisotropic media. Furthermore, diffusion anisotropy of the polymer solute in a LC solvent was studied by a novel two-beam cross-correlation technique. The diffusion anisotropy was observed to be about 2. This value is comparable to the diffusion anisotropy of the solvent and suggests that, despite the high degree of alignment, the solute diffusion is governed by the solvent and not the solute.