Nonsolvents cause swelling at the interface with poly(methyl methacrylate) films

Keiji Tanaka, Yoshihisa Fujii, Hironori Atarashi, Kei Ichi Akabori, Masahiro Hino, Toshihiko Nagamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Density profiles of a perdeuterated poly(methyl methacrylate) (dPMMA) film spin-coated on a substrate in water, hexane, and methanol, which are "nonsolvents" for dPMMA, were examined along the direction normal to the interface by specular neutron reflectivity (NR). The interfaces of dPMMA with the liquids were diffuse in comparison with the pristine interface with air; the interfacial width with water was thicker than that with hexane. Interestingly, in water, the dPMMA film was composed of a swollen layer and the interior region, which also contained water, in addition to the diffused layer. The interface of dPMMA with hexane was sharper than that with water. Although there were slight indications of a swollen layer for the dPMMA in hexane, the solvent molecules did not penetrate significantly into the film. On the other hand, in methanol, the whole region of the dPMMA film was strikingly swollen. To conserve mass, the swelling of the film by the nonsolvents is accompanied by an increase in the film thickness. The change in the film thickness estimated by NR was in excellent accord with the results of direct observations using atomic force microscopy (AFM). The modulus of dPMMA in the vicinity of the interfaces with liquids was also examined on the basis of force-distance curves measured by AFM. The modulus decreased closer to the outermost region of the film. The extent to which the modulus decreased in the interfacial region was consistent with the amount of liquid sorbed into the film.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-301
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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