Modeling self-assembly and structure-property relationships in block copolymers
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Block copolymers have been subject of tremendous research interest owing to their capability of undergoing self-assembly which allows them to tailor their electrical, optical, and mechanical properties. Statistical mechanics of flexible block copolymers is well understood. However, there are many unresolved issues with confinement of block copolymers as well as structure formation in block copolymers having non-flexible polymer blocks. We develop mean field theory models to address the issues arising in thermodynamics of such complex block copolymers. Also, we develop theoretical formalisms to understand the link between morphology and macroscopic properties in these block copolymers. We study the stability and ordering in thin films of flexible diblock copolymer in the presence of compressible solvent using a combined polymer mean field theory and lattice gas model for binary fluid mixtures. We utilize mean field theory model to understand the self-assembly behavior in side-chain liquid crystalline block copolymers which involve interplay between microphase separation and liquid crystalline ordering of side chain mesogenic units. We extend the field theoretic models for block copolymer to account for self-assembly in semicrystalline block copolymers. The semicrystalline chain is modeled as a semiflexible chain having non-bonded attractions between parallel bonds. We characterize the structure formation in such block copolymers as a function of the rigidity of the semicrystalline chain. Then we extend the formalism to study semicrystalline triblock and pentablock copolymers and evaluate bridging fractions in different sequences of semicrystalline multiblock copolymers. Rod-coil block copolymers have a flexible polymer covalently linked to rigid polymer. Such polymers have potential applications as organic LEDs and photovoltaic devices. We study the self-assembly of such block copolymer under confinement. To make these block copolymers viable as photovoltaic devices, we performed the photovoltaic modeling of devices based on self-assembly of block copolymers. We characterize the interplay between self-assembly and anisotropy of charge transport (arising due to rigid polymer chains) in determining the eventual photovoltaic properties.