This study elucidates the influence of the atom transfer radical polymerization initiator structure, monolayer versus disordered multilayer, on the growth kinetics and the structural transition of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) brush layers. The multilayer initiator film, prepared by acylation of the electrografted 2‐phenylethanol layer using 2‐bromoisobutyryl bromide, consists of ∼4.6 times more tert‐butyl bromide groups compared to monolayer initiator prepared by self assembly technique. The results demonstrate the formation of precursor complex between CuI catalyst and the bromine initiator as a prerequisite step before the onset of polymerization. Furthermore, the PMMA brushes formed by the polymerization from the multilayered initiator layer at 50 °C are 20‐fold thicker compared to the polymerization at 25 °C due to the swelling of the multilayered initiator film. In contrast, the thickness of the PMMA layer on the monolayer initiator is less affected by the polymerization temperature. By varying the initiator density on the surface, the solvent content in the PMMA layer is shown to vary from 15% to 94%, resulting in the transition from concentrated over semidiluted to diluted brushes.
|Journal||Journal of Polymer Science. Part A, Polymer Chemistry|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|