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Characterization of phase separation of polystyrene/poly(vinyl methyl ether) blends using fluorescence

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Abstract

We have investigated the fluorescence emission spectra of pyrene and anthracene dyes covalently bonded to polystyrene (PS) upon phase separation from poly(vinyl methyl ether) (PVME). The specific chemical structure of the fluorescent labels is found to affect the measured phase separation temperature TS, with fluorophores covalently attached in closer proximity to the PS backbone identifying phase separation a few degrees earlier. The sharp increase in fluorescence intensity upon phase separation that occurs for all fluorophores with little change in spectral shape is consistent with a mechanism of static fluorescence quenching resulting from the specific interaction with a nearby quenching molecular unit. Based on recent work that has identified a weak hydrogen bond occurring between the aromatic hydrogens of PS and the ether oxygen of PVME, we believe a similar weak hydrogen bond is likely occurring between the PVME oxygen and the aromatic dyes providing a local (few nanometer) sensitivity to phase separation. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys, 2011

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