Direct observation of microdomain morphology in `all-acrylic' thermoplastic elastomers synthesized via living radical polymerization

Ph Leclère, G. Moineau, M. Minet, Ph Dubois, R. Jérôme, J. L. Brédas, R. Lazzaroni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


We investigate the microscopic morphology of thin films of symmetric triblock copolymers synthesized via a two-step `living' radical polymerization of n-butylacrylate and methyl methacrylate. These copolymers with low poly(methyl methacrylate) contents constitute a new class of potential thermoplastic elastomers with higher service temperature and oxidation resistance compared to conventional polydiene-polystyrene-based thermoplastic elastomers. The straightforward synthetic pathway allows for strict control of molecular weight, molecular-weight distribution, and composition. The presence in the copolymer of immiscible segments covalently bound to each other leads to phase separation on the nanometer scale. Regular organization of the phase-separated nanodomains is observed in real space by scanning force microscopy. The data point to a strong contrast in the local mechanical properties, corresponding to the microphase morphology. Cylinders of the minority phase are found to orient perpendicular to the surface, because of the surface energy difference between the constituents. Lamellae are also arranged perpendicular to the surface, in contrast to what is usually observed in block copolymers. This particular orientation is thought to result from the symmetric character of these triblock systems, with the outer blocks more polar than the central sequence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3915-3919
Number of pages5
Issue number11
StatePublished - May 25 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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