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Keywords:

  • alloys;
  • birefringence;
  • extraordinary wavelength dispersion;
  • hydrogen bonds;
  • hydrogenated ring-opening methathesis polymer;
  • hydrogenation;
  • hydroxyl functionalized polystyrene;
  • nanostructures;
  • optical materials;
  • retardation films

A new polymer blend composed of a hydrogenated ring-opening polymer (HROP) with an ester group and hydroxyl functionalized polystyrene (HFP) produced the excellent transparent materials which enabled a precise birefringence control in keeping with the other physical properties for optical film use. The blend with a composition from 0.28 to 0.35 for the HFP weight fraction showed an extraordinary wavelength dispersion, transmitting through a zero birefringence point at the critical fraction of 0.45, while each polymer showed an ordinary wavelength dispersion. The observed excellent transparency even above those of the glass transition temperature was attributed to a depressed phase separation that resulted from strong hydrogen bond between the ester and hydroxyl groups. An IR analysis of the film demonstrated a remarkable red-shift in the carbonyl peak with an increase of the hydroxylated polystyrene content, indicating a strong hydrogen bond between those groups. This new polymer blend provides a useful design to achieve practical demands for film use, both optical and mechanical under the fabrication conditions using the melt extrusion technique. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part A: Polym. Chem. 2013, 51, 3132–3143