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Abstract

A laser interferometer has been used to measure in situ the dissolution rates of thin films of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). The most significant finding is that addition of small amounts of a low-molecular weight nonsolvent can increase the rate obtained with a higher molecular weight solvent. In this study, silicon wafers were coated with polymer (about 1 μm thick) and annealed at 155°C for 1 h. The dissolution rates were measured at 17.5, 22.5, and 27.5°C. All the mixtures contained methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) (2-butanone), as the major component. The minor component was water, methanol, ethanol, 1-propanol, 2-propanol, or ethylene glycol. Water and methanol showed the greatest effects. Both were able to increase the dissolution rate as much as two-fold. All the mixtures exhibit the same activation energy (25 kcal/mol) despite their wide differences in dissolution rate.