Phase behavior and ionic conductivity of concentrated solutions of polystyrene-poly(ethylene oxide) diblock copolymers in an ionic liquid.

Research paper by Peter M PM Simone, Timothy P TP Lodge

Indexed on: 02 Apr '10Published on: 02 Apr '10Published in: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces


Concentrated solutions of poly(styrene-b-ethylene oxide) (PS-PEO) diblock copolymers were prepared using the ionic liquid 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide [EMI][TFSI] as the solvent. The self-assembled microstructures adopted by the copolymer solutions have been characterized using small-angle X-ray scattering. Lyotropic mesophase transitions were observed, with a progression from hexagonally packed cylinders of PEO, to lamellae, to hexagonally packed cylinders of PS upon increasing [EMI][TFSI] content. The change in lamellar domain spacing with ionic liquid concentration was found to be comparable to that reported for other block copolymers in strongly selective solvents. The ionic conductivity of the concentrated PS-PEO/[EMI][TFSI] solutions was measured via impedance spectroscopy, and ranged from 1 x 10(-7) to 1 x 10(-3) S/cm at temperatures from 25 - 100 degrees C. Additionally, the ionic conductivity of the solutions was found to increase with both ionic liquid concentration and molecular weight of the PEO blocks. The ionic conductivity of PEO homopolymer/[EMI][TFSI] solutions was also measured in order to compare the conductivity of the PS-PEO solutions to the expected limit for a lamellar sample with randomly oriented microstructure grains.