Thickness of the soft layer on glassy polystyrene surfaces



The flow behavior of the near-surface region of polystyrene films was studied via the decay kinetics of imprinted corrugation gratings at elevated temperatures. The speed of the decay is the result of a balance between surface tension, on the one hand, and viscous drag, on the other. Depth profiling is possible because the penetration depth of a surface wave is proportional to its wavelength. From the dependence of the decay rate on the penetration depth one concludes that the surface region displays an increased molecular mobility. The soft surface layer has a thickness of about 20 nm. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 44: 3031–3036, 2006