Status: 1st Year Graduate Student (co-advised by Professor Rodney Priestley)
Undergraduate Institution: City College of New York
I am interested in fundamental properties of diblock copolymers; namely their glass transition behavior and structural dynamics in both bulk and nanoscale-confined systems. Diblock copolymers are of particular technological interest because of their periodic nanoscale features which make them useful as nanolithographic masks for the electronics industry. Many analytical techniques such as ellipsometry and differential scanning calorimetry yield information about the bulk behavior of these materials, but nothing about the properties of the localized polymer-polymer interfaces. We therefore need an alternate method to probe the local and interfacial behavior of these systems. To that end we employ Fluorescence Spectroscopy (FS). FS works by incorporating trace amounts of a fluorescent labeled monomer into a polymer chain and then monitoring the temperature and/or temporal dependence of the probe’s fluorescence intensity. Using anionic polymerization, one can selectively place these probe molecules at precise points along a block copolymer chain. This then allows us to characterize the local dynamics of these systems which is important as, in many cases, their glass transition temperature and relaxation dynamics can influence their utility for engineering purposes.