Cover Image, Volume 50, Issue 3


original image

Linear copolymers with a gradient change in composition along the chain backbone have a reduced driving force to phase segregate compared to block copolymers, leading to unique materials properties and phase behavior. Potential applications for such “gradient copolymers” include polymer blend compatibilizers and vibration-dampening systems. A challenge associated with studying the phase segregation of these structures is their inherently low compositional contrast, making traditional block copolymer microscopy techniques of limited use. On page 189, Michelle Mok and John Torkelson apply optical microscopy and profilometry for the first direct visualization of gradient copolymer phase segregation properties through island/hole surface features formed in thin copolymer films upon annealing.