Regular Article

The European Physical Journal E

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 375-377

First online:

Effect of atmosphere on reductions in the glass transition of thin polystyrene films

  • A. N. RaegenAffiliated withDepartment of Physics & Astronomy and the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research, McMaster University
  • , M. V. MassaAffiliated withDepartment of Physics & Astronomy and the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research, McMaster University
  • , J. A. ForrestAffiliated withDepartment of Physics & Astronomy and Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute, University of Waterloo
  • , K. Dalnoki-VeressAffiliated withDepartment of Physics & Astronomy and the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research, McMaster University

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Abstract

We have used nulling ellipsometry to measure the glass transition temperature, T g , of thin films of polystyrene in ambient, dry nitrogen, and vacuum environments. For all environments, the measured T g values decrease with decreasing film thickness in a way that is quantitatively similar to previously reported studies in ambient conditions. These results provide strong reinforcement of previous conclusions that such reduced T g values are an intrinsic property of the confined material. Furthermore, the results are in contrast to recent reports which suggest that the T g reductions measured by many researchers are the results of artifacts (i.e. degradation of the polymer due to annealing in ambient conditions, or moisture content).

PACS

36.20.-r Macromolecules and polymer molecules 64.70.pj Polymers 68.60.-p Physical properties of thin films, nonelectronic