Stretched Polyethylene Films Probed by Single Molecules

Authors

  • Dr. Alexander C. Wirtz,

    1. Molecular Nano-Optics and Spins (MoNOS), Huygens Laboratory, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9504, 2300 RA Leiden (The Netherlands), Fax: (+31) 715275819
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  • Dr. Clemens Hofmann,

    1. Molecular Nano-Optics and Spins (MoNOS), Huygens Laboratory, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9504, 2300 RA Leiden (The Netherlands), Fax: (+31) 715275819
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  • Prof. Dr. Edgar J. J. Groenen

    Corresponding author
    1. Molecular Nano-Optics and Spins (MoNOS), Huygens Laboratory, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9504, 2300 RA Leiden (The Netherlands), Fax: (+31) 715275819
    • Molecular Nano-Optics and Spins (MoNOS), Huygens Laboratory, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9504, 2300 RA Leiden (The Netherlands), Fax: (+31) 715275819
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Abstract

Stretched films of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) doped with 2.3,8.9-dibenzanthanthrene (DBATT) were studied using polarization-selective single-molecule spectroscopy at 1.8 K. By measuring the in-plane component of the electronic transition-dipole moments of individual chromophores, the alignment of dopant molecules is determined without averaging. The distributions of chromophore orientations reveal the presence of two fractions of dopant molecules: those oriented along the stretching direction and randomly oriented molecules. With increasing drawing ratio of the polyethylene films, the ratio of oriented to randomly oriented guest molecules increases, whereas the extent of chromophore orientation, that is, the width of the orientation distribution, remains the same. The results are consistent with the interpretation that oriented chromophores reside on the surfaces of polyethylene crystals, instead of in the amorphous polyethylene regions. Guest molecules in stretched polyethylene are oriented due to the alignment of the crystallites on which they are adsorbed. As such, the shape and width of the distributions of chromophore orientations are determined by the interaction of guest molecules with the crystal surfaces.

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