We report on an experimental study of the self-organization and phase behavior of hairy-rod π -conjugated branched side-chain polyfluorene, poly[9,9-bis(2-ethylhexyl)-fluorene-2,7-diyl]—i.e., poly[2,7–(9,9–bis(2–ethylhexyl)fluorene] (PF2∕6) —as a function of molecular weight (Mn) . The results have been compared to those of phenomenological theory. Samples for which Mn=3–147 kg∕mol were used. First, the stiffness of PF2∕6 , the assumption of the theory, has been probed by small-angle neutron scattering in solution. Thermogravimetry has been used to show that PF2∕6 is thermally stable over the conditions studied. Second, the existence of nematic and hexagonal phases has been phenomenologically identified for lower and higher Mn (LMW, Mn<Mn* and HMW, Mn>Mn* ) regimes, respectively, based on free-energy argument of nematic and hexagonal hairy rods and found to correspond to the experimental x-ray diffraction (XRD) results for PF2∕6 . By using the lattice parameters of PF2∕6 as an experimental input, the nematic-hexagonal transition has been predicted in the vicinity of glassification temperature (Tg) of PF2∕6 . Then, by taking the orientation parts of the free energies into account the nematic-hexagonal transition has been calculated as a function of temperature and Mn and a phase diagram has been formed. Below Tg of 80 °C only (frozen) nematic phase is observed for Mn<Mn*=104 g∕mol and crystalline hexagonal phase for Mn>Mn* . The nematic-hexagonal transition upon heating is observed for the HMW regime depending weakly on Mn , being at 140–165 °C for Mn>Mn* . Third, the phase behavior and structure formation as a function of Mn have been probed using powder and fiber XRD and differential scanning calorimetry and reasonable semiquantitative agreement with theory has been found for Mn≥3 kg∕mol . Fourth, structural characteristics are widely discussed. The nematic phase of LMW materials has been observed to be denser than high-temperature nematic phase of HMW compounds. The hexagonal phase has been found to be paracrystalline in the (ab0) plane but a genuine crystal meridionally. We also find that all these materials including the shortest 10-mer possess the formerly observed rigid five-helix hairy-rod molecular structure.
|Number of pages
|Physical review E: Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics
|Published - 2005